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Living with heart disease and angina

Coronary artery disease - living with; CAD - living with; Chest pain - living with

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that most often occurs when you do certain activities or feel stressed. This article discusses what you can do to manage chest pain and reduce your risks from heart disease.

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Heart Disease and Angina

CHD is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort that most often occurs when you do certain activities or feel stressed. It is caused by poor blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart muscle.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, your health care provider may advise you to:

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Some controllable risk factors for heart disease are:

Eating a Healthy Diet

Good nutrition is important for your heart health. Healthy eating habits will help you control some of your risk factors for heart disease.

Taking Your Medicines

Your provider may prescribe medicine to treat CHD, high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. These may include:

To reduce the risk of a heart attack, you may also be told to take aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticagrelor (Brilinta) or prasugrel (Effient) every day. Follow your provider's directions carefully to keep heart disease and angina from getting worse.

Always talk to your provider before you stop taking any of your medicines. Stopping these drugs suddenly or changing your dose can make your angina worse or cause a heart attack.

A Plan to Manage Angina

Create a plan with your provider for managing your angina. Your plan should include:

Know what can make your angina worse, and try to avoid these things. For example, some people find that cold weather, exercising, eating large meals, or getting upset or stressed worsens their angina.

References

Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on practice guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 Pt B):2960-2984. PMID: 24239922 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239922.

Fihn SD, Blankenship JC, Alexander KP, et al. 2014 ACC/AHA/AATS/PCNA/SCAI/STS focused update of the guideline for the diagnosis and management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(18):1929-1949. PMID: 25077860 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25077860.

Morrow DA, de Lemos JA. Stable ischemic heart disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 61.

Mozaffarian D. Nutrition and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 49. 

Stone NJ, Robinson JG, Lichtenstein AH, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the treatment of blood cholesterol to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on practice guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 Pt B):2889-2934. PMID: 24239923 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239923.

Thompson PD, Ades PA. Exercise-based, comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 54.

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Review Date: 7/25/2018  

Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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