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Angina Pectoris (cont.)

What are the risk factors angina and atherosclerosis?

Risk factors for atherosclerosis and angina include the following. Some of these are reversible.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Male gender
  • Inactive (sedentary) lifestyle
  • Family history of coronary heart disease
  • Aging
  • Regular use of stimulants, especially nicotine, cocaine, or amphetamines: Other stimulants include theophyllines, inhaled beta-agonists, caffeine, diet pills, and decongestants.

When to seek medical care for angina

If the person has never had these symptoms, can call a health-care professional, especially if the person is uncertain of the symptoms or what action to should take.

  • Do not delay calling 911. Do not wait for a call back from the doctor. Do not "wait it out." To wait is to risk your life.
  • Emergency personnel are trained to recognize angina and to treat it rapidly and safely.

If the person has had angina before, they may not need to seek medical care if the symptoms are the same as they always are.

  • If the person has already been evaluated by a health-care professional and received advice about how to react to these symptoms, follow that advice.
  • This usually involves rest, removing the stressor, and taking sublingual nitroglycerin.

If the person has had angina before, go to the nearest hospital emergency department if any of the following situations occur:

  • If the usual pattern of angina symptoms changes in any way
  • If the symptoms are different than usual or more severe
  • If the symptoms occur at rest or with less activity than usual
  • If the symptoms do not get better with rest or sublingual nitroglycerin
  • If the person is not certain about what to do

Any of these situations may be a medical emergency and requires a visit to a hospital emergency department.

  • Don't delay or try to "wait it out."
  • Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
  • Call 911 for emergency medical transport.

If a person believes they have risk factors for angina, but no symptoms, they should call a health-care professional to arrange for an evaluation in the office. Don't wait for symptoms to occur.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017

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