Angina is chest pain or discomfort resulting from reduced blood flow to the heart. About 9.8 million Americans experience angina every year. Approximately 500,000 new cases of angina occur annually. Like many heart-related problems, angina is preventable. In this post, you can see 11 angina prevention tips that will lower the risk of developing chest pain and complications it would cause.
1. Slim Down or Maintain Weight in a Healthy Range
Excess weight is associated with hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. All these problems increase the risk of angina and heart disease.
In overweight or obese people, a heart needs to work harder to supply blood to the body.
One of the most significant angina prevention strategies is to modify your lifestyle to slim down or maintain weight in a healthy range.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking is detrimental to your heart health. Cigarette smoke increases levels of free radicals and leads to oxidative stress, but it also reduces the bioavailability of nitric oxide. As a result, blood vessels narrow.
The narrowing of blood vessels decreases blood flow, thus making you more likely to have angina.
While it may seem difficult, an important tip for the prevention of angina is to quit smoking. The challenge is real, but the benefits are worth it.
3. Manage Stress
Stress harms your health in many ways, and a higher angina risk is one of them.
Stress increases blood pressure which may pave the way to angina.
The surge of hormones released in times of stress can narrow the arteries and contribute to chest pain. Stress isn’t something we can avoid entirely. What we can do is to be proactive and manage it. Options are endless here. Do something you find relaxing. One of the easiest stress-relieving methods is deep breathing.
4. Reduce or Avoid Alcohol Consumption
When we’re talking about angina prevention, it’s impossible to leave out the alcohol.
Drinking alcohol can narrow blood vessels and increase blood pressure, especially with long-term and heavy use.
These problems can contribute to various cardiovascular conditions, including chest pain. If you can’t avoid alcohol entirely, you may want to reduce its intake.
5. Ditch Trans Fats From Your Diet
Trans fats account for a major part of the standard Western diet. Although foods that contain trans fats are perceived as delicious and affordable, they jeopardize your health in many ways. Trans fats contribute to overweight/obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and other factors that may increase the risk of angina.
Strive to avoid trans fats and opt for healthier foods instead.
6. Increase Physical Activity Levels
A sedentary lifestyle leads to excess weight. At the same time, it contributes to high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Moving away from a sedentary lifestyle is crucial for angina prevention.
Strive to exercise regularly and increase activity levels in your daily life.
You may want to consult your doctor regarding safe exercises if you have heart disease. Low-impact activities can be helpful.
7. Control High Blood Pressure
Hypertension may damage the coronary arteries and support the formation of blockages in the blood vessels. Additionally, high blood pressure can impair blood flow to the heart. Inadequate blood flow leads to angina.
One of the most crucial angina prevention strategies is the management of hypertension.
To achieve that, you will need to modify your lifestyle and take medications regularly (if prescribed by your doctor).
8. Control Blood Glucose Levels
Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease, which makes a person more susceptible to angina and heart attack. You see, coronary artery disease speeds up the development of atherosclerosis, formation of plaque inside the blood vessels. It’s needless to mention this impairs blood flow.
Poor blood flow can cause angina.
If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you need to control your blood sugar levels. You can do so by adhering to doctor-recommended treatment and making healthy lifestyle changes, especially with your diet.
9. Eat a healthy Diet
An unhealthy diet is indicated by high levels of trans fats, sugar, and other potentially dangerous compounds. It may lead to weight gain, high cholesterol levels, and other problems that increase angina risk and jeopardize cardiovascular health. Eating a heart-healthy diet can help you improve heart function.
Focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fruits and vegetables should be the main component of your diet.
10. Control Cholesterol Levels
When you have high cholesterol, a waxy substance known as plaque can accumulate inside arteries.
Eventually, you may develop atherosclerosis, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The buildup of plaque in your arteries decreases blood flow and may contribute to angina. For that reason, you need to control cholesterol levels. Again, a healthy diet and exercise play an important role here. If you already have high cholesterol, you need to adhere to the doctor’s instructions and continue taking your medications.
11. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration causes strain on your heart. When you’re dehydrated, the amount of blood circulating through the body decreases. Therefore the solution is simple here – you need to drink enough water throughout the day. If you tend to forget to drink water, you can place reminders around your home or office, or you can set up an alarm on your phone.
Angina is not a single disease but a symptom of a heart problem. Angina prevention is possible with healthy lifestyle measures and proper management of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of chest pain.