There are a variety of approaches to chronic angina treatment. These include3:
Your doctor may suggest a combination of these options, depending on your symptoms and medical history. The goal of treatment of chronic angina should be relief of angina symptoms and a return to normal physical activity levels.6
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that may help reduce the occurrence of angina attacks. These include3:
- Avoiding eating so much that you feel stuffed, if your angina is triggered by large meals.
- Reducing stress in your daily life and avoiding potentially stressful situations.
- Changing your diet. Talk with your doctor about dietary changes that may be right for you.
- Quitting nicotine use in all forms.
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese. Talk with your doctor before starting any weight loss program.
- Getting more physically active. Talk with your doctor about what types of exercise or activity are right for you.
- Taking more breaks and slowing down.
- Taking all of your medications as prescribed.
According to the American College of Cardiology Guidelines for treating patients with chronic angina, several types of medications are recommended, including6:
- Nitrates (nitroglycerin)
- Calcium channel blockers
The table below lists how each of these medications work.
|Nitrates relax and widen the blood vessels, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart.6
|Beta blockers are used to slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. When heart rate and blood pressure are reduced, the heart does not work as hard and needs less oxygen.6
|Calcium channel blockers interfere with calcium's role in the contraction of the heart and blood vessel muscles, which causes them to relax.6
Ranexa is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with chronic angina. Ranexa may be used with beta-blockers, nitrates, calcium channel blockers, antiplatelet therapy, lipid-lowering therapy, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers. Ranexa can help to reduce the number of angina episodes if taken as prescribed, but it will not stop an angina episode once it has started. To learn more about Ranexa click here.
Procedures for treating angina
Depending on the nature of your angina and your medical history, your doctor may recommend a procedure in addition to medical treatment.
With bypass surgery your surgeon will take healthy arteries or veins from other parts of your body (usually your arm or leg) and use these to redirect blood around the narrowed arteries leading to your heart. Bypass surgery can help to improve blood flow to the heart, relieve chest pain, and possibly prevent a heart attack.3
Angioplasty/Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Another option is angioplasty (PCI). During this procedure a thin tube with a balloon is used to push open the walls of the artery. Your doctor may also place a stent in your artery to hold it open after the procedure is over. Angioplasty and stent placement help to increase the amount of oxygen-rich blood flowing to your heart. This can in turn relieve chest pain and possibly prevent a heart attack.3
Bypass surgery and angioplasty do help to eliminate chronic angina in some patients. However, studies have shown that significant percentages of patients who undergo bypass or angioplasty still experience angina one to five years after the procedure. If your doctor suggests a procedure, discuss risks, benefits, and possible alternatives before making your decision.7
Talk to your doctor to determine which treatment options are best for you based on
your symptoms and medical history.