Angina is a symptom of a cardiovascular coronary artery disease caused by reduced blood flow to the heart and is characterized by pain, heaviness or pressure in the chest. Once diagnosed with angina, adopting these measures may help you manage your symptoms and reduce your risk for heart attack.
Keep a Journal of Your Symptoms
Each angina diagnosis comes with unique patterns and symptoms. Documenting your symptoms in a journal will help you visualize your diagnosis and help avoid triggers.
In your journal, write down details such as:
- What causes your symptoms to occur
- What your pain feels like (e.g., sharp or dull)
- What time do the symptoms occur and what is their duration
- What made your symptoms subside (e.g., rest or medicine or both)
Beware of changes in your symptoms and be sure to document them in your journal. Changes may include differences in frequency, pain and relief. Inconsistent symptom patterns may suggest higher risk for heart attack.
Keep Track of Your Medications
Keep track of:
- Which medications you are using
- What the purpose of each pill is
- When and how to take medication, especially nitroglycerin and nitrates
Be sure to correctly store your medicines and keep them stocked. Alert your doctor to any side effects and discuss changes to prescriptions.
Control Your Lifestyle Habits
Your lifestyle habits are the foundation for success in angina management. Follow these tips for a healthier lifestyle:
- Quit smoking
- Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Lessen consumption of saturated fats from dairy, meat and packaged products. Avoid becoming overly full since it can take a toll on your heart.
- Adopt a safe exercise plan as recommended by your doctor. Stop and rest before chest pain begins and be aware of how much physical exertion your heart can take..
- Manage mental and emotional stress. Relax your mind and body by taking deep breaths and thinking positively.
Should you observe the symptoms of unstable angina, contact your doctor right away. In the case of heart attack dial 911.
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