Stable angina is triggered by a secure plaque which has not broken off where it produces an incomplete secure obstruction in a coronary artery. An angina is defined as symptoms brought about by ischemia of a region in the heart muscle. The usual cause of angina is coronary artery disease.
The partial obstruction typically allows adequate flow of blood to the heart muscle while at rest, thus there is no angina while at rest. Nevertheless, the incomplete blockage also restricts the maximum blood flow provided by the artery. It simply means that there are times when the heart must strain especially during physical exertion or if under emotional stress. The flow of blood could not increase enough to comply with the rising needs on the heart muscle. Once the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, it becomes ischemic and angina arises.
What are the indications?
An individual with stable angina generally has no symptoms while at rest or during trivial activity since the flow of blood to the heart muscle is adequate. Angina manifests when the individual engages in strenuous physical activity.
Since stable angina can be predicted, the doctor often utilizes a stress test that come up with a rough estimate of the degree of blockage caused by the plaque. If angina arises after 30 seconds in a treadmill, the plaque is causing significant obstruction. In case the angina arises after 10 minutes, the blockage is less severe.
Management of stable angina
The objective in managing stable angina includes:
- Alleviate or lessen the symptoms
- Prevent further progression of the atherosclerotic plaques
- Prevent serious complications of CAD such as heart failure, myocardial infarction and death
The treatment to achieve these objectives can be complex and often involves important medical decisions.