Unstable angina is a coronary artery related symptom pointing at coronary heart disease requiring emergency medical attention. It’s a second stage of angina, first one being stable angina.
Angina is a pressure, or fullness that is felt in the chest and many a times ignored because it is mistaken for ingestion or gases.
But unstable angina comes with more than crushing chest pain; the pain is also experienced in the left arm, shoulders, neck, threat and even jaws. Any individual noticing similar symptoms should make a note of it immediately and take an appointment with the doctor.
One should be extra careful if he/she does not suffer from any heart related disease. Unstable angina is one of the three types of angina.
The other two being stable and variant angina.
1- Unstable angina is indicative of `a heart attack in the waiting. When an individual undergoes pain in the angina it is in irregular intensity and frequency it is called an unstable angina.
When an individual experiences pain while doing nothing and resting he is said to be going through unstable angina. This may last longer, come with minimal activity, and more easily when resting.
Anything that is besides regular or stable angina is an unstable angina.
The thing about unstable angina is that it can be relieved by using medications; if allowed to go unnoticed it may develop into a heart attack. And as we already know heart attack can be life threatening and something that can demand much intense treatment and even medical procedures and surgeries.
So, in unstable angina symptoms are unusual. They are more random and more unpredictable. Unlike in stable angina where symptoms are triggered because of physical exercise and exertion, fatigue, restlessness etc, unstable angina gets triggered even while the person is resting and not doing any strenuous physical activity.
Another thing about unstable angina is that it is caused due to actual rupture of plaque in coronary artery. Such a rupture and clot of blood block the artery that hinders flow of oxygen (with clot of blood making the artery shrinking and expanding) to the heart and this in turn gives rise to crushing pain in the chest in erratic fashion.
Unstable angina can hit a person with history of coronary heart disease. People who do not suffer from any coronary heart disease are more likely to reach this stage because they ignore the earlier stable symptoms which bring them to the next stage.
Would they have been more alert they could have avoided this situation altogether with the help of some oral medication. Typical symptoms of unstable angina are feeling of suffocation in the chest, feeling of undue pressure in the chest; breathlessness; heartburn etc.
Unstable Angina’s Symptoms
Symptoms to watch out for unstable angina are crushing pain while person is resting that lasts for about 15-20 minutes. In case of recent beginning of angina, one can notice that his capacity to engage in physical activities is becoming limited. Patient who has been diagnosed with stable angina symptoms will notice that there is an increase in pain episodes and they are turning out to be more frequent, lasting longer, or occurring with negligible physical exertion.
Doctor advises ECG to confirm the stage of angina. An elevated ST segment pointing towards extent of blockage in the artery is indicative of unstable angina.
Treatments For Unstable Angina
Treatments include intensive medication to control and stabilize the condition; they can also advise fixing stent with Lipitor or taking the patient through an angioplasty. Stent control cholesterol and thus controlling more plaque from forming in the walls of coronary artery.
Since it indicates at ruptured plaque in coronary artery it is an emergency situation and does call for medical attention. If this stage is also allowed to go unnoticed the patient is sure to face heart attack situation sometime in future when his arteries are fully finally blocked.
It’s best to bring the situation under control when the angina is at the first stage called the stable stage and nip the emergency at the bud.