How to Prevent Angina

Three Parts:Preventing Angina Through Lifestyle ChangesPreventing Angina Through DietIdentifying Angina

Angina is the medical term for chest pain that you feel when the amount of oxygenated blood that your heart gets is not sufficient. Angina is also a symptom of a heart attack, so if you are experiencing it, call emergency medical responders right away. Your doctor will help you determine a treatment plan that will help prevent such episodes in the future. If you know you are at risk for episodes of angina, there are lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to further reduce your risk.[1]

Part 1
Preventing Angina Through Lifestyle Changes

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    Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to hardening your arteries. This raises your risk for angina, hypertension, heart failure, and having a stroke. Quitting will significantly improve your health. If you need help quitting there are many resources for social support and getting medical assistance:[2][3]
    • Get social support by seeing a counselor, joining a support group, or calling hotlines.
    • Get medical help by talking to your doctor, using nicotine replacement therapy, or trying medications.
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    Be active. Consult your doctor before you start a new exercise regime. For some people exercise can bring on an episode of angina. This means that it is very important to check with your doctor before you start a new exercise program.[4][5][6]
    • If you think exercise might trigger angina for you, consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. There are several options the doctor might suggest. The doctor might advise that you take medications before exercising to prevent angina. Another option may be for you to start easy and then slowly increase the amount of exercise you do as you get in good enough shape to avoid an angina attack.
    • Talk to your doctor about what forms of exercise are compatible with your health condition. The doctor may suggest that you start with activities that are less strenuous like walking, swimming, or biking. It is important not to do too much too soon because angina is a sign that you may be prone to heart attacks.
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    Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Drinking a lot can make you prone to obesity and increase the strain on your heart. If you do drink, stay within the recommended limits:[7][8]
    • Women should keep it to only one drink per day. Men should keep it to two or less.
    • A drink is one beer, a glass of wine, or one and half ounces of liquor.

Part 2
Preventing Angina Through Diet

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    Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are healthy for your heart because they are low in calories and fat, yet have the fiber and nutrients to satisfy your appetite. Most people don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables. The recommended daily amount is 2 to 3 cups of each, each day. Eating many different fruits and vegetables will keep your meals interesting and give you the vitamins you need.[9][10]
    • Eat fruits for dessert. A fruit salad with bananas, apples, grapes, and orange slices will be satisfy any sweet tooth at the end of the meal.
    • Eat vegetables as snacks. They are usually less juicy than fruits and easy to take with you to the office or to school. Tuck a carrot or green pepper slices into your bag in the morning.
    • Scrutinize the canned items you purchase. Fruits that are canned in sugary syrups will be higher in calories than fresh fruits. Similarly, many vegetables are often canned in salt water. Look for canned foods that don’t have sugar and salt added.
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    Reduce your fat intake. Ideally you should eat no more than about 3 tablespoons of fats, such as butter, per day. Most people eat more fats than they need, so there are lots of ways to lower your fat consumption and make the fats you eat less harmful to you.[11]
    • When you do eat fats, it matters which ones you choose. Avoid saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature, like butter. It’s a little more difficult to avoid trans fats, but you can check on the packaging of processed foods. “Partially hydrogenated” fats are usually trans fats.[12][13]
    • Opt for heart healthy fats such as: Margarines designed to reduce your cholesterol like Benecol, Promise Activ, or Smart Balance. When you cook, instead of using butter, try olive, canola, vegetable, or nut oils.
    • The following fat sources are generally less healthy for you: Lard, cream sauces, bacon fat, butter, palm, cottonseed, and coconut oils, chocolate, cocoa butter, hydrogenated margarine, and nondairy creamers.[14]
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    Avoid fatty meats. Steaks are tasty, but they are generally higher in fat than poultry and fish. Meat and fish are good sources of protein, but be careful not to overdo it. Eat, at most, 6 ounces of meat per day. Make your protein consumption as healthy as possible by:[15][16]
    • Cutting off any fat you see around the edges.
    • Removing the skin. There is usually a layer of fat underneath.
    • Baking, roasting, or grilling instead of frying.
    • Substituting meat for plant-based sources of protein, such as beans or tofu.
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    Reduce hypertension by eating low salt foods. Hypertension is also called high blood pressure. A high salt diet can make you prone to developing hypertension. This increases the strain on your heart. Try cutting down on salt by:[17][18]
    • Using less salt when you cook. Instead of adding a large pinch of salt, just add a light sprinkle.
    • Checking the salt content on pre-packaged or canned foods. Many have salt added as flavoring. Try replacing salty snacks with healthier alternatives like fruits or vegetables. A green pepper or an orange is just as easy to pack into your briefcase or schoolbag as a bag of chips.
    • Eating out less. Many restaurants add extra salt to the food because if customers are thirsty, they will purchase more drinks.

Part 3
Identifying Angina

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    Call an ambulance if you might be having a heart attack. Angina can be a heart attack symptom. If you have an episode of angina and are unsure about whether you could be having a heart attack, it is better to be safe and call an ambulance. People experiencing angina and heart attacks often report:[19][20]
    • Chest pain
    • Pressure or tightness in the chest
    • Pain that may radiate to your back, shoulder, arms, and / or up to your neck and jaw
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Sweating
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Exhaustion
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    Call an ambulance if you are a woman with unusual symptoms. Women do not always experience the classic symptoms that men do. Women are less likely to experience chest pain, but they are still in need of immediate care. Women may report:[21]
    • Discomfort in the back, neck or jaw. This may occur without chest pain.
    • Discomfort may feel like a sharp, stabbing pain rather than a feeling of pressure
    • Feeling nauseous
    • Abdominal pain
    • Feeling like you can’t catch your breath
    • Fatigue
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    Identify an unstable angina. Unstable anginas are frequently symptoms or precursors to heart attacks. If you are having an unstable angina, it is vital that you call an ambulance and get medical care as soon as possible. Indications that you are experiencing an unstable angina are:[22][23]
    • Discomfort that increases as it goes on
    • Angina that continues for up to half an hour
    • Pain that is worse or different from your prior anginas
    • Angina that starts unexpectedly, such as when you are not exercising or while you are sleeping.
    • Discomfort that does not subside within 5 minutes of taking angina medication. If the medication does not help within 5 minutes, call an ambulance.[24]

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Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure