Stable angina is feeling of chest pain or discomfort that is characterized by having a usual pattern when it comes to intensity and regularity, meaning its onset can be predictable. It typically manifests with activity or stress, as opposed to unstable angina where there is no regular pattern and can become more intense and more frequent than stable angina as time passes by.
Each year, millions of individuals suffer from stable angina. It is commonly associated with coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease in adults. Although having certain diseases can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stable angina, lifestyle factors and the environment can also play a role in predisposing an individual to experiencing angina. Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high LDL and low LDL cholesterol, and lifestyle practices such as, smoking, eating large meals and lack of exercise can all increase risk of stable angina.
Stable angina is the most common type of angina. Medically, it is known as angina pectoris. It is often indicative of a heart attack in the future.
Causes of Stable Angina
Because the heart is working all the time, it needs a constant supply of oxygen, hence stable angina occurs when there is insufficient amount of oxygen-rich heart in the blood. Although stable angina is not a diagnosis on its own, it is commonly a symptom of an existing medical condition. The following medical conditions may lead to chest pain or discomfort:
- Coronary heart disease – most common cause of stable
- Heart attack
- Aortic dissection (tearing of a major artery of the heart)
- Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Infection of the lungs
Symptoms Associated with Stable Angina
As previously mentioned, stable angina is not a disease on its own, however, there are associated symptoms that manifest with it, such as:
- Chest pain or discomfort that occurs behind the breastbone or slightly to its left that usually lasts from one to fifteen minutes
- Increases in intensity before disappearing slowly
- Described as a sharp, dull, burning, squeezing, heavy or tight feeling in the chest
- May radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders, (left) arm or back
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling of indigestion
First Aid Management for Stable Angina
Due to the regularity in pattern of stable angina, symptoms associated with this pain can be relieved by making lifestyle changes and taking medications, and if necessary, surgical procedures. The following procedure is recommended during stable angina:
- If the patient is engaged in exercise or strenuous activity, tell the person to stop and rest first. If the patient is in a stressful situation, remove the person from this situation and go to a place of peace.
- Assist the patient into a position of greatest comfort.
- Reassure the patient and keep the person calm.
- Assist the patient into taking medications if they have.
- If the patient experiences angina for the first time, call for emergency medical services, as angina could be a symptom of a heart attack.
- If necessary, initiate CPR.
Know how to properly assist a patient experiencing chest pain by taking First Aid Courses and CPR Classes. Stable angina is a chest pain or discomfort characterized by having a regular pattern of onset and intensity that can be relieved by resting or medications.