First Aid: Angina

Way back in July, we explored Heart Attacks and their signs and symptoms. On a similar vein is Angina Pectoris, more commonly known as Angina. Angina occurs when the heart does not get as much blood as it needs, usually because one of the hearts arteries is narrowed or blocked.

Types of Angina

Dictionary entry for 'angina' highlighted in pink

There are two types of Angina, stable and unstable. Both types of Angina shares common signs and symptoms with a heart attacktightness of the chest that may spread to the arms and jaw. People suffering with angina may also feel sick or breathless. Angina attacks are usually triggered by physical exertion or stress.

Unlike a heart attack though, a stable Angina attack will reduce and stop with rest as the hearts requirement for blood reduces. People diagnosed with Angina may also be prescribed a GTN spray to assist when having an attack. The spray is administered under the tongue and has the effect of relaxing blood vessels, thus reducing the strain on the heart.

In unstable Angina however, the attacks may come on for no reason at all and may not ease with rest. If rest and use of the spray has no effect, then treat the person as if they are having a heart attack.

What Causes Angina?

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Angina is usually caused by the arteries that supply blood to the heart becoming narrowed by a build-up of fatty substances. Factors that may increase this risk include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Increasing age
  • Family history of heart problems

How Can You Prevent Angina?

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Making healthy lifestyle choices can greatly reduce the risk of developing Angina or, if already diagnosed, assist in managing the condition. Some actions you can take to improve your health are:

The British Heart Foundation provide more tips and information on how you can reduce the risk of heart related conditions – visit their website to learn more.

Written by Neil Ward, Training Consultant at WA Management.

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Chest pain should be taken seriously, and in some cases first aid may be necessary. We offer First Aid training that can prepare you on how to help your colleagues in an emergencies – please get in touch to book your place on this life-saving course!

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