Staying active, not smoking, and adopting healthy eating habits are important ways to manage stable angina. Your health care professional may also prescribe medicine to help. Some of the medications help control the risk factors that lead to angina and coronary artery disease, while others help manage the symptoms.
Your health care professional will help you find the best combination of medications and treatments to manage your condition.
Several medications are used to manage the symptoms of angina.
Beta blockers help ease the work the heart has to do by slowing down your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. If you have had a heart attack, these medications will help prevent another one and help you live longer.
Nitroglycerin and nitrates increase the blood flow to the heart by opening up, or dilating, the blood vessels in the body. This allows blood to flow to the heart muscle more easily when coronary arteries are narrowed. It also decreases the workload on the heart to supply blood to the body. Long-acting versions of these medications are also commonly used.
Calcium channel blockers, like beta blockers, help ease the work the heart has to do by slowing down your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Not all medications of this type will slow down heart rate as well as others, but they are all useful to lower high blood pressure. They are not used if your heart is weak.
Ranolazine works directly at the heart to help it relax better. It helps the heart muscle not have to work as hard. Unlike other medications used in angina, it is able to do this without changing your blood pressure or your heart rate.
Opening up narrowed coronary arteries to restore blood flow to the area of the heart muscle that is not getting enough can relieve the symptoms of angina. There are two main ways to restore blood flow to the heart:
These treatments can improve quality of life for patients with advanced coronary artery disease.
Your treatment will depend on your symptoms and preferences, how many narrowed or blocked arteries you have and where they are, your age, overall health, and other risk factors. You will need to take antiplatelet medications after PCI. Talk about these options with your heart doctor.
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is typically a 12-week, medically supervised program. It includes counseling on how to exercise, eat heart healthy, manage stress and quit smoking. It also teaches you how to take better control of your health.
Intensive cardiac rehab might be available in your area and consists of nine weeks of four-hour sessions, two times per week. In these sessions you will have supervised exercise, as well as an hour of nutrition counseling and a meal, an hour of stress relief, and an hour of group support. The outcomes from this intensive program are usually even better than traditional cardiac rehab.
Cardiac rehab can decrease angina, reduce heart risk factors and improve quality of life.
Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy
Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) therapy may be recommended in some patients if you have angina that limits you from your daily activities and that has not improved with standard treatments.