Treatment

Ten Things to Do After An Angina Diagnosis

Allison Bush Mar 26th, 2012 (updated Jun 30th, 2015)
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Angina is chest pain that occurs when a portion of your heart is not receiving enough blood. This lack of blood flow to the heart is usually caused by coronary artery disease - a build up of plaque in the arteries, which reduces the amount of blood flowing to your heart.

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Stay calm
Stay calm

Stress can lead to angina attacks, so it is very important that you try to stay calm at all times.  Learn relaxation techniques that you can easily use if you begin to feel stressed.  Practice deep breathing exercises and if it helps, you can even schedule a massage or reflexology once a week to help you stay relaxed.

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Stop smoking
Stop smoking

One of the most important actions you can take for your heart is to give up smoking.  Smoking narrows your arteries, and increases your heart rate.  It also increases your blood pressure and reduced blood flow throughout your body.  All of this means your heart must work harder to pump blood, which can lead to a heart attack. 

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Eat healthy
Eat healthy

It is important that you eat a healthy diet filled with fresh, colorful, whole foods.  If you find eating healthy difficult, try to focus on eating foods as close to their natural form as possible.  That means choosing a lean chicken breast rather than frozen chicken nuggets; or some home made vegetable soup rather than canned soup or vegetables.

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Exercise regularly
Exercise regularly

Engaging in a daily exercise routine can help you maintain a healthy heart and decrease your episodes of angina.  Some good choices include Pilates, cycling, swimming and body weight training. 

Always remember that if exercise is new to you, it's a good idea to speak with your doctor first to discuss what level of exercise is appropriate. 

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Never skip medications
Never skip medications

Remembering to take medications as prescribed by your doctor can be difficult, however it is critical that you stick with the schedule they have given you, and also that you do not stop taking the medication, even if you feel better.

To help remember, try using a calendar to make a timing schedule, or if you always take your medications in the morning, place them next to the coffee pot, or another location you frequent as part of your morning routine.

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Maintain healthy blood
Maintain healthy blood

If you have underlying blood pressure problems or diabetes, it is very important to keep these levels within a normal range.

Having consistently high blood pressure readings, or high blood sugar levels, will put extra strain on your heart.  You should also try to keep your cholesterol levels in check.  This will help to reduce the amount of plaque build up in your arteries.

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Maintain a healthy weight
Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for good overall health.  When you are overweight your whole body must work extremely hard to function.  This means more stress on your heart and lungs.

So, if you are overweight, do what you can do lose the excess pounds and return to a healthy weight for your body type.  A dietitian or weight loss specialist can be very helpful for people who struggle with weight loss.

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Get enough sleep
Get enough sleep

Sleep is the time when your body rejuvenates itself.  This is why it's so important to get around eight hours of good, quality sleep each night.

If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques, soft music and blackout curtains as your starting point.  If those do not work, see your doctor about further testing and help sleeping.

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Avoid alcohol
Avoid alcohol

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and cause disturbances in your normal heart rhythm.  Studies show that excessive alcohol consumption can also raise your triglyceride levels.

So, protect your heart by limiting your alcohol consumption to within the recommended guidelines - this means an average of one to two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.

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Visit your doctor regularly
Visit your doctor regularly

When you have angina it is important that your health is monitored closely.

Be sure to keep every follow up and maintenance appointment your doctor recommends even if you are feeling well.  Your doctor may be able to detect a problem that you cannot.  It is also helpful to track any symptoms, angina-related or not, and address them at your appointments.