I had no inkling I had heart disease until December 2005, when I had two minor episodes of mild angina (pain in the chest area). My primary care physician ran an electrocardiogram but saw nothing abnormal. I was an athletic, lean 53-year-old who ate nutritious foods. He decided I was just stressed and gave me the go-ahead to go to Nicaragua on vacation.
But while there, the angina went from mild to severe. The pain would come and go, but on three separate occasions the pain was the most massive...
Unstable angina is
chest pain or discomfort from lack of blood flow, but there is no damage to the heart muscle.
It often happens when you are at rest. You may have had
stable angina before. You knew when to expect your symptoms, such as when you exercised. Stable angina usually goes away
when you rest or take your angina medicine. But the symptoms of unstable angina may
not go away with rest or medicine. It may get worse or happen at times that it
didn't before. Unstable angina is not a heart attack. But it is a warning that
a heart attack could happen soon, so it needs to be treated right
A heart attack means a coronary artery
has been blocked and the heart has been damaged. Without blood flow and oxygen,
part of the heart starts to die.
Any type of acute coronary syndrome is very serious and
needs to be treated right away.
What causes acute coronary syndrome?
coronary syndrome happens because
plaque narrows or blocks the arteries that supply
blood to the heart. Plaque is made of
cholesterol and other things. Over time, plaque can
build up in the arteries. This is known as
coronary artery disease.
Plaque causes angina by narrowing the
arteries. A heart attack happens when a piece of plaque breaks open and a clot
forms, blocking an artery.
What are the symptoms?
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have symptoms of acute coronary syndrome. These may include:
Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.