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Chest Pain

What is it?

The word “angina” describes the symptom of chest pain resulting from a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. It may be caused by a spasm of a coronary blood vessel or build-up of plaque along an artery wall.

A transient condition (measured in seconds to minutes), angina is generally recurrent and may be the forewarning of a more serious heart attack.

There are various types of angina, but all of them share the characteristic chest pain and the oxygen deficit to the heart muscle.

Key Points

  • Chest pain resulting from lack of blood flow to the heart
  • May be related to exercise, but can occur at rest if illness is severe
  • Three types: Stable, Variant, and Unstable
  • Approximately 6.4 million Americans suffer from this at one point in their history
  • Pain can range from vague ache to severe crushing sensation
  • Most commonly felt beneath the sternum, but location can vary
  • Risk factors include: inactivity, stress, menopause, standard American diet (high fat/high salt), obesity, smoking and diabetes
  • Pain is generally relieved by nitroglycerine medication

How do we treat it?

In treating angina, as any other condition, we must look closely at what is causing the disease. Are your attacks caused by arterial blockages or spasms? Angina with high cholesterol (arteriosclerosis) must be addressed similarly to that condition, with attention to the liver, inflammation and often some aspects of mineral balance.

Arterial plaques or sclerosis does accompany a tendency to pull minerals out of the bones and to deposit them elsewhere (like in the blood vessels).

On the other hand, angina with spasticity will be treated more like a migraine headache—also a spasm of blood vessels. So we will look at the systems that regulate contraction of the vessels, nervous and endocrine.

Sometimes, angina can coexist with other spasms in the body—physical or emotional. In this case, it will be important to look at spasms as a physiological pattern.

Lifestyle and dietary counseling, along with appropriate supplements and remedies will increase blood flow and decrease spasm of the coronary muscles.

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