What Is Angina And What Are The Causes?

Dr. Califf answers the question: 'What Is Angina And What Are The Causes?'

— -- Question: What is angina and what are the causes?

Answer: Angina, or angina, is a symptomatic manifestation of blocked coronary arteries. Angina occurs when the heart muscle doesn't get enough blood flow. What makes angina so difficult to understand or to diagnose is that we were made with hearts that have nerves that come back to the brain to tell us when the heart muscle is not getting enough blood supply, but unfortunately, these nerves are also inter-mixed with nerves from many other structures in our body, so the lungs, the esophagus or the swallowing tube, even aspects of the jaw are wired in the same way, so the doctor can have great difficulty, or the individual, knowing whether it's angina or some other symptom occurring.

But fundamentally, when the coronary artery -- or, the artery on the surface of the heart -- becomes blocked, and blood flow does not get to the heart muscle adequately, the heart muscle begins to ache, just like any muscle would if you exercise too much and didn't have enough blood flow. This aching can be manifested as pain, but often times it's only a pressure feeling -- usually felt in the chest, but interestingly, can also be felt in the jaw, the back of the neck, the abdomen, many other places.

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