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QUESTION What is Angina Andwhat is the cureRESPONSEAngina refers to the pain arising from lack of adequate blood supply to theheart muscle Typically it is a crushing pain behind the breastbone in thecenter of the chest brought on by exertion and relieved by rest It may attimes radiate to or arise in the left arm neck jaw left chest orback It is frequently accompanied by sweating palpitations of theheart and generally lasts a matter of minutes Similar pain syndromesmay be caused by other diseases including esophagitis gall bladderdisease ulcers and othersDiagnosis of angina begins with the recognition of the consistentsymptoms Often an exercise test with radioactive thallium is performedif the diagnosis is in question and sometimes even a cardiaccatheterization is done if the outcome is felt necessary to makemanagement decisions This is a complex area which requires carefuljudgment by physician and patientAngina is a manifestation of coronary artery disease the samedisease leading to heart attacks Coronary artery diseas refers tothose syndromes caused by blockage to the flow of blood in thosearteries supplying the heart muscle itself ie the coronary arteriesLike any other organ the heart requires a steady flow of oxygen andnutrients to provide energy for rmovement and to maintain the delicatebalance of chemicals which allow for the careful electrical rhythmcontrol of the heart beat Unlike some other organs the heart cansurvive only a matter of minutes without these nutrients and the restof the body can survive only minutes without the heart--thus thecritical nature of these syndromesCauses of blockage range from congenital tissue strands within orover the arteries to spasms of the muscular coat of the arteriesthemselves By far the most common cause however is the deposition ofplaques of cholesterol platelets and other substances within thearterial walls Sometimes the buildup is very gradual but in othercases the buildup is suddenly increased as a chunk of matter breaks offand suddenly blocks the already narrowed openingCertain factors seem to favor the buildup of these plaques A strongfamily
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