When angina is caused by coronary artery disease, treatment usually includes:
- Lifestyle changes Changes include weight loss for obese patients, therapy to quit smoking, medications to lower high cholesterol, a program of regular exercise to lower high blood pressure, and stress reduction techniques (for example, meditation and biofeedback).
- Nitrates, including nitroglycerin Nitrates are medications that widen blood vessels (vasodilators). They increase blood flow in the coronary arteries, and make it easier for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
- Beta-blockers, such as atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL) These medications decrease the heart’s workload by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force of the heart’s contractions, especially during exercise.
- Calcium channel blockers, such as nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac), amlodipine (Norvasc) These medications may help to improve the efficiency of heart-muscle function and may decrease the number and severity of chest pain episodes.
- Aspirin Because aspirin helps to prevent blood clots from forming inside narrowed coronary arteries, it can reduce the risk of heart attacks in people who already have coronary artery disease.
If lifestyle changes and drugs fail to ease angina or when the risk of heart attack is great, your doctor may recommend balloon angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.
When To Call A Professional
Call your doctor if you experience chest pains, even if you think you are too young to have angina and have no history of heart problems in your family. Your doctor will recommend the next steps based on how you describe your symptoms and risk factors.
In people with coronary artery disease, the outlook depends upon many factors, including the location and severity of the artery narrowing, and the number of coronary arteries involved. Proper treatment greatly improves the outlook for people with coronary artery disease.