Angina pectoris, also called angina, is chest pain that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough blood flow. This condition is a major problem for people with diabetes. Here are three things diabetics need to know about angina pectoris.
What are the signs of angina pectoris?
Angina pectoris leads to pain and discomfort in your chest. This discomfort can vary significantly; some people say it feels like indigestion, while others say it feels like their chest is being squeezed or crushed. Additional symptoms like nausea, dizziness, sweating, and shortness of breath can also occur in addition to this chest pain.
Usually, the pain associated with angina pectoris gets worse when you exercise and gets better when you rest. However, even though the pain goes away, it's still a serious concern that requires medical attention. Angina pectoris is a sign that you have heart disease and could have a heart attack, so it needs to be treated.
How is angina pectoris related to diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the major risk factors for the development of heart disease, including conditions like angina pectoris. This is because high blood sugar levels change your blood vessels in ways that make you more susceptible to heart disease.
Over time, these high blood sugar levels lead to the buildup of plaque on the walls of your blood vessels. This plaque makes your vessels harder and narrower, which doesn't allow as much blood to pass through. This, in turn, can deprive your heart of the blood it needs, which leads to angina pectoris.
How is angina pectoris treated?
Your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers to ease your symptoms. Beta-blockers are high blood pressure medications and they work by dilating your blood vessels. When the vessels are dilated, more blood is able to pass through and reach your heart.
You may also be told to take a low dose of aspirin every day. Aspirin works by thinning your blood, which helps to prevent blood clots from forming. This is important for people with heart disease as blood clots can block blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.
Controlling your diabetes is an important part of your treatment. Make sure to eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood sugar level. If you're not sure what foods you should be eating to control your diabetes, meet with a dietitian to plan your diet.
If you think you have angina pectoris, see your doctor right away. Contact a center like Advance Medical of Naples for more help.