Unstable Angina

Unstable Angina

Angina refers to a condition wherein an individual experiences chest pain due to the reduced flow of blood, primarily due to atherosclerosis or coronar artery disease. Due to lack of treatment, angina advances to a stage in which an individual starts experiencing unpredictable chest pain more frequently.

This stage of angina is called unstable angina.

Typically, unstable angina has no after, it happens without exertion, and

doesn’t show any sign of abating event with rest or medications. These

attributes explain the reason why medical experts consider it an emergency.

Types of Angina

 Angina can be of different types. Its classification into different categories is

based on causes and the ability of rest and medications to relieve its

symptoms. Based on these criteria, angina can be classified into the following


  • Stable angina

  • Unstable angina

  • Variant angina

  • Refractory angina


Unstable angina refers to the advanced stage of angina. If you suffer from it,
you are likely to exhibit the following unstable angina symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain that remains unabated even after taking medications
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that occurs even without any hard physical activity
  • An excruciating chest pain which may spread to different parts of your
    body, especially in the upper body


The primary reason for angina is the flow of lesser-than-usual blood to the
heart muscle. To remain alive, the heart muscle needs oxygen which comes
from the blood. An insufficient flow of blood to the heart muscle means an
inadequate supply of oxygen to it which elevates the risk of ischemia.
In most cases, it is coronary heart disease that prevents the flow of blood to
the heart muscle. By causing the formation of plaques, it narrows arteries and
restricts the flow of blood to the heart muscle. In medical terms, this condition
is known as atherosclerosis.

Narrow arteries elevate the risk of reduced blood flow to the heart muscle in
two ways. It can either happen due to the bursting of plaques in a narrow
artery or due to the formation of blood clots in it.
The effect of angina is more readily visible after an activity than during a
resting phase. This is because when you take rest, the heart muscle works
even with the reduced supply of oxygen. But the cells of the body, including
that of the heart muscle, demand more oxygen after a heavy activity such as a
workout. As a result, there is a higher likelihood of the symptoms of angina
becoming more visible.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are those factors that make an individual vulnerable to developing
certain diseases or medical conditions. As far as angina is concerned, several
factors elevate the risk of angina and its progression from the first to the last
stage. Given below are some of the common unstable angina risk factors.

  • Ageing: If your age is either 60 years or you belong to an older age group, you may develop angina. Ageing is a common factor that leads to the development of the condition.
  • Genetic reasons linked with heart disease: Angina runs in families. If any of your family members, including your father or mother, had a history of a heart attack or a heart disease, you may also be the candidate for it.
  • The excessive use of tobacco: Taking tobacco in any form is injurious to health as it blocks the lining of the arteries. Plus, it also deposits cholesterol in the arterial linings. Taking tobacco causes angina in both these ways.
  • Hypertension: Hypertension hardens the arteries over time which paves the way for angina. Therefore, all individuals must keep their blood pressure under control.
  • Diabetes: Alongside heightening the level of cholesterol, diabetes also maximises the pace of atherosclerosis. This way, diabetes becomes a leading cause of angina.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of proper workout: Daily exercise is necessary to remain fit. The lack of it will not only cause your body to lose its shape but will also make it vulnerable to developing lifestyle diseases, including angina. If you suffer from angina due to a sedentary lifestyle, talk to your doctor to prepare a workout plan. Try remaining as active as you can to prevent the possibility of developing angina.
  • Obesity: If you are obese, then your heart may need to work harder than usual to pump blood to different parts of the body. In this way, obesity can be a reason for angina.
  • The use of tobacco: Due to it, cholesterol gathers in the arteries which prevent the normal flow of blood. It takes the form of angina in the later stages. Even if you do not smoke, you may also develop angina due to passive smoking.
  • Medications: If you use certain medicinal drugs for migraine, you may experience tightness in blood vessels. Later on, it can be the reason for angina.
  • Emotional stress: When you go through stress or get angry, your body releases stress hormones in response to it. In addition, your blood pressure may also shoot up due to these factors. Both these aspects can increase your likelihood of developing angina.
  • Substance abuse: The blood vessels may develop spasms due to the continuous or excessive use of certain stimulants like cocaine. In the subsequent stages, it may trigger angina.
  • Cold temperatures: Remaining exposed to cold temperatures causes Prinzmetal angina.

Prevent Angina

The consequences of unstable angina may seem scary on the surface. But
you can take heart from the fact that it is preventable. Unstable angina
prevention is possible and you can prevent its progression from angina by
doing the following:

  • Performing daily workouts to reduce your bodyweight
  • Taking a healthy diet
  • Refraining from smoking or taking drugs
  • Limiting the consumption of alcohol


The progression of angina follows the following stages:

Class 1: When angina occurs with prolonged or strenuous activity and
does not limit an individuals ordinary activity
Class 2: When angina causes slight limitations to an individual's
ordinary activity and it usually surfaces while walking
Class 3: When angina appears with climbing a flight of stairs or walking
1 to 2 blocks and causes a major limitation to an individuals ordinary
physical activities
Class 4: When angina occurs with all kinds of ordinary physical



First, your healthcare provider will record your medical history, and carry out aphysical examination. Next, they will order a few blood tests, chest x-rays, and ECG (electrocardiography) to get an insight into cardiac cell injury. From the report..

Angina - Road to Recovery and Aftercare

The road to recovery from unstable angina lies in adopting a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, you must also keep in touch with your doctor and adhere to their

instructions. Consult your doctor to work out a healthy diet pl..

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