If you've been diagnosed with angina, on one hand, you're probably grateful to have an explanation for your chest pain and other symptoms. On the other hand, you're likely wondering what comes next. Well, treatment comes next — but that looks a little different for everyone. There are three types of medications often prescribed for angina patients, and your doctor will evaluate your needs to determine which medication or combination of medications is best for you.
Nitrates, such as nitroglycerine and amyl nitrate, are a class of medications that work by widening and relaxing your blood vessels. With your blood vessels in this state, more blood can make its way through. This allows more blood to go through the arteries in your heart, exposing your heart muscle to more oxygen, which thereby reduces the symptoms of angina. Nitrates often come in pill form, but there are also nasal sprays that you can use for fast relief of sudden angina attacks. Side effects of nitrates can include dizziness, headaches, upset stomach, and flushing.
Beta-blockers are another class of drugs that are often prescribed to patients who don't tolerate nitrates well. They help treat angina in two ways. First, they open up the blood vessels to allow more blood through. Second, they inhibit the action of adrenaline in the heart, which slows down your heart rate and blood pressure, allowing blood to flow more easily. Beta-blockers are a common choice for patients whose high blood pressure is thought to contribute to their angina. Examples of beta-blockers include atenolol and bisoprolol. Side effects can include weight gain, cold hands, and trouble sleeping.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers directly affect the blood vessels in your heart. Basically, they interfere with some microscopic channels that let calcium ions pass through, triggering muscle contractions. With this process inhibited, your heart muscles and blood vessels relax, allowing blood to flow through your heart more freely. Examples of calcium channel blockers include amlodipine, felodipine, and nicardipine. Side effects are usually mild and include headache, flushing, and fatigue.
Sometimes it may take a few tries to find the right medication to manage your angina, so be patient. Be honest with your doctor about the results you see with each medication, and also about any side effects you're experiencing. This information will help the doctor better hone in on which medication is best for you.
For more information about angina treatment, talk to your doctor.
As an adult in my 50s, I find that my body isn't as strong as it used to be. But I don't let that stop me from enjoying life! In fact, I make every effort to get the treatments I need from my doctor to improve my health. I know that I'm not a senior yet, but I do all I can to prevent the health problems that affect that age group. Because of this, I put together a health blog for people over age 50. My blog isn't a review of what you can easily find on the Internet. It's a plethora of unique information designed to help you find the services you need fast. What my blog doesn't do is tell you what to do for your health. Instead, it offers guidance and options. Please, enjoy the blog and happy reading.