Stable angina, also known as angina pectoris, is a prevalent type of angina that is experienced during exertion and relieved by rest. It is predictable and typically lasts for less than five minutes while at rest.
Stable angina is caused by decreased blood flow to the heart, which can be triggered by physical activity or emotional stress. Although it is a sign of an underlying medical condition, it is less severe than unstable angina.
Symptoms of stable angina or angina equivalent may include a feeling of gas or indigestion, fatigue, weakness, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and pain in the chest that typically comes on with activity or stress, lasts an average of 1 to 15 minutes, and is relieved with rest or on taking nitroglycerin. Angina attacks can occur at any time of the day.
When there is an increased demand for oxygen by the heart muscles during physical activity or stress, a stable angina attack occurs if they don't receive enough oxygen. The causes of this condition may include cold weather, anaemia, heart failure, exercise, hyperthyroidism, emotional stress, large meals, abnormal heart rhythms, heart valve disease, and coronary artery spasm (also known as Prinzmetal angina).
Doctors check symptoms, medical history, perform a physical exam, and blood pressure check. Tests for angina include ECG, echocardiography, stress tests, Holter monitoring, and coronary angiography. Blood tests, cardiac biomarker assays, CBC, serum chemistry, lipid panel, creatinine level, CT/MRI angiography, SPECT, and chest radiography can also be conducted.
To treat stable angina, lifestyle changes, medications, and interventions such as angioplasty and bypass surgery may be used. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, managing stress, and treating underlying medical conditions. Medications like nitrates, aspirin, clot-preventing drugs, beta-blockers, statins, calcium channel blockers, and other blood pressure medications may be prescribed. In some cases, EECP therapy may be recommended. Angioplasty and stent placement can also be used to improve blood flow, while CABG or bypass surgery may be necessary for multiple blockages or when angioplasty is not possible. Prompt treatment is essential for stable and unstable angina.
Complications of stable angina may include heart attack, sudden death caused by abnormal heart rhythms, and unstable angina. It's important to seek medical attention as soon as any signs of stable angina appear to prevent these complications.
Stable angina can have various risk factors that include obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits such as consuming high amounts of saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar, vigorous physical workouts, history of heart disease, use of tobacco products, high blood pressure or hypertension, history of diabetes, high cholesterol, exposure to extremely hot or cold weather, aging, and family history of coronary artery disease in men younger than 45 and women younger than 55.
In general, the prognosis for individuals with stable angina is positive. By taking medications and making lifestyle changes, the condition can often be improved. In some cases, procedures such as angioplasty/stent or bypass surgery may be necessary.