Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The discomfort also can occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.
But, angina is not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD).There are many types of angina, including microvascular angina, Prinzmetal’s angina, stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina.
If you feel pressure or a squeezing in your chest, it may be angina. It can feel like a heart attack, but often it’s a warning sign.
Angina often feels like a heaviness or tightness in your chest, and this may spread to your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach as well. Some people describe a feeling of severe tightness, while others say it’s more of a dull ache. Some people experience shortness of breath too.
Angina is usually due to heart disease. A fatty substance called plaque builds up in your arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart muscle. This forces your heart to work with less oxygen. That causes pain. You may also have blood clots in the arteries of your heart, which can cause heart attacks.
Other, less common causes of chest pain include:
- A blockage in a major artery of the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- An enlarged or thickened heart (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
- Narrowing of a valve in the main part of the heart (aortic stenosis)
- Swelling of the sac around the heart (pericarditis)
- Tearing in the wall of the aorta, the largest artery in your body (aortic dissection)
Types of Angina
The two main types of angina are stable angina and unstable angina.
Where angina attacks are brought on by an obvious trigger (such as exercise) and improve with medication and rest.
Stable angina isn’t life-threatening on its own. However, it’s a serious warning sign that you’re at increased risk of developing a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
Where angina attacks are more unpredictable, occurring with no obvious trigger and continuing despite resting.
Some people develop unstable angina after previously having stable angina, while others experience unstable angina with no history of having angina before.
Unstable angina should be regarded as a medical emergency, because it’s a sign that the function of your heart has suddenly and rapidly deteriorated, increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Natural Remedies for Angina
- If you smoke, stop smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet with limited amounts of saturated fat, lots of whole grains, and many fruits and vegetables.
- Talk to your doctor about starting a safe exercise plan.
- If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about weight-loss options.
- Take anti-angina medications as prescribed and follow your doctor’s directions.
- Treat diseases or conditions that can increase your risk of angina, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
- Because angina is often brought on by exertion, pace yourself and take rest breaks.
- Avoid large meals that make you feel overly full.
- Try to find ways to relax. Talk with your doctor about stress-reduction techniques.
Alfalfa is effective in reducing chest pain as it helps reduce cholesterol levels and plaque buildup and ensure smooth blood flow toward the heart. It has a good amount of chlorophyll that helps soften arteries and reduce the incidence of cardiac chest pain.
Almonds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that can reduce blood cholesterol and promote heart health. Being rich in plant sterols, fiber and magnesium, they help lower total cholesterol and prevent future angina attacks.
Basil is also a good home remedy for chest pain. The magnesium in basil promotes blood flow by aiding the heart and blood vessels to relax. Plus, the antioxidant vitamin A in basil prevents the buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessel walls.
Cayenne pepper can provide relief from chest pain. It contains a high concentration of capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It also works as a blood regulator to help restore blood flow to the heart.
According to Ayurveda, fenugreek can promote cardiovascular health and prevent angina. Its antioxidant and cardio-protective properties reduce cholesterol and promote blood flow to the heart.
Garlic is one of the most effective home remedies for chest pain. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, regular consumption of garlic can prevent and delay cardiovascular disease.
Ginger is another proven home remedy for chest pain. Gingerol, a chemical compound in ginger, helps reduce cholesterol levels. Being an antioxidant, it also protects the blood vessels from damage from cholesterol.
This is the simplest home remedy for angina patients. Try to include one lemon in your food each day. You can squeeze it over salads or have it as fresh lemon water. Lemon helps you avoid the accumulation of cholesterol, thus preventing any sort of blockage in the blood vessels. It is a natural deterrent for angina and angina patients should include lemon in their daily diet whenever possible.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you have a heart disease, high cholesterol or a family history of heart problems, then you need to increase your intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Turmeric is also recommended to treat chest pain. Its active ingredient called curcumin helps reduce cholesterol oxidation, plaque buildup and clot formation. Plus, its anti-inflammatory property helps relieve pain in the chest.
Meditation is one of the best ways to deal with chest pain. It increases blood and oxygen flow in the entire body and even slows down the heart rate. Plus, meditation relaxes you and thus reduces stress and anxiety, which can increase your risk of chest pain.