What is angina and what are the types of angina?
If you experience discomfort every time you cross a threshold of activity, emotional stress, or exercise, it is known as stable angina. In some cases, angina appears all of a sudden at rest or in the early mornings and this is known as unstable angina.
Stable angina is usually caused due by the reduction of the size of the lumen of the blood vessels, Unstable angina is caused due to a narrow area of the vessel getting temporarily blocked due to contraction of an artery or a clot.
Unstable angina is more unpredictable and dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
However, both types of angina point to a weakness in the circulation of the heart and the pain is a symptom of some of the heart muscles not getting enough oxygen.
What is anti-anginal medication?
When you visit the doctor with angina, they will recommend a series of tests to determine the exact state of your cardiovascular health like exercise tolerance tests on a treadmill or other tests to see the electrical activity of the heart through ECGs of the blood flow in the heart through advanced imaging studies.
Your doctor may also recommend angioplasty for unstable angina to look for and clear any blockages that may be there. This procedure may also be combined with inserting stents that keep the vessel dilated and allow blood to flow. This is a treatment for the condition, but the chances of developing the condition again remain high because usually, it's not just one area that develops a problem at a time.
Either after treatment or to prevent the occurrence of complications, your doctor may recommend a series of medications that help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. This is known as anti-anginal medication. Anti-anginal medications work by improving blood circulation in the heart, reducing the contraction of blood vessels and blood pressure against which the heart has to pump blood, or preventing or reducing the formation of clots in the bloodstream.
What are the types of anti-anginal medications?
Most of the anti-anginal medications given to you will fall under one of the following categories. You may find this out by reverse searching the name of the compound in the medicine on an online search platform.
Medicines usually prescribed for stable angina:
Nitrates expand the arteries and veins and help more blood to flow through them by improving the lumen size. Nitrates may be recommended during morning or night hours based on the type of angina you experience.
Beta-blockers are used to block the signals of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenergic elements from raising the heart rate, blood pressure, and the force of contraction. These medicines help by reducing the load against which the heart has to pump blood and also by reducing the total oxygen the heart requires to sustain functionality. This reduces the damage from any blockage and is known to improve survival and prevent heart attacks. Some of the types of beta blockers used include:
It is important to remember never to suddenly stop taking beta blockers as withdrawal can be dangerous by exacerbating angina, heart attack, and death. Especially when a high dosage is stopped abruptly. Always speak to your doctor before deciding to change medication yourself.
These medicines work by reducing the tone of muscles in the blood vessel walls, leading to more dilated arteries and lower blood pressure. This reduces the overall load on the heart and thus the requirement for oxygen or the shock from suddenly reduced circulation. They provide both a way to prevent heart attacks and to reduce the morbidity from an impending attack. They are usually recommended for stable angina only when the nitrates and beta blockers fail to achieve necessary results or cause side effects. These include:
Medications for other conditions:
Other conditions may need to be treated along with angina. These may include separate medications for the treatment of: