What is angina?
Angina is pain, pressure, or tightness that is usually felt in your chest. Chest pain may come on when you are stressed or do physical activities, such as walking or exercising. Angina is caused by decreased blood flow and oxygen to your heart. These are often caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Angina may get worse, increase your risk for a heart attack, or become life-threatening.
What increases my risk for angina?
- Age older than 55 years
- Being a man
- Being a woman who smokes and takes birth control pills, or is in menopause
- Diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, or high cholesterol
- A heart problem, such as heart valve disease, a past heart attack, or an enlarged heart
- A condition that causes inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Smoking cigarettes, being around secondhand smoke, or using cocaine
- Not enough exercise, or being overweight
- A family member diagnosed with heart disease at a young age
What other signs and symptoms may I have with angina?
- Pressure, tightness, or pain in your neck, jaw, shoulder, or back
- Pain or numbness in either arm
- Discomfort that feels like heartburn
- Shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or lightheadedness
What are Antianginal agents?
Antianginal agent is a term used to describe a wide variety of medicines that are used in the management of angina. Angina is a heart condition characterized by a narrowing of the coronary arteries (the arteries of the heart). Chest pain is its main symptom.
Examples of antianginal agents include:
- Nitrates (eg, isosorbide dinitrate, isosorbide mononitrate, nitroglycerin). These relax smooth muscle within the blood vessels, widening them and making it easier for blood and oxygen to reach the heart
- Calcium antagonists (eg, diltiazem, nifedipine, nimodipine, verapamil). These inhibit calcium transfer into cells thereby inhibiting contraction of vascular smooth muscle
- Beta blockers (eg, atenolol, pindolol, propranolol, metoprolol). These slow the heart, reducing how hard it has to work
- Ranolazine. The exact way it exerts its antianginal effect is not known but may be through inhibition of ion channels during cardiac repolarization.
How do antianginal drugs work?
These drugs act by increasing coronary blood flow and oxygen supply, or by preventing vasospasm and clot formation, and associated decreases in blood flow. Drugs that reduce myocardial oxygen demand are also given to patients with these two forms of angina to reduce oxygen demand and thereby help to alleviate the pain.