What is Stable Angina?
Stable angina is a common term used to describe chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease. Stable angina is clinically referred to as Current Stable Angina Pectoris. This condition occurs when the heart is unable to get the amount of blood flow it needs. Commonly, the blood flow to the heart’s muscle is restricted because the arteries of the heart have narrowed or become blocked. Angina causes uncomfortable pressure, pain or squeezing in the chest. Some patients also complain about discomfort in their shoulders, back, arms, neck or jaw.
Signs of Angina and Heart Disease in Women?
Women can experience different symptoms of angina and heart disease than men, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sharp chest pain or feeling out of breath. It is important that women recognize females do not commonly show the male common signs of chest tightness when their heart is under duress. Instead, women may notice jaw or back pain, nausea or vomiting. Women have different symptoms because they commonly have blockages in a different part of the heart than men. Men tend to have blockages in their coronary arteries, a condition called coronary artery disease. Women often develop heart disease within the small arteries that branch out from the main coronary arteries, a condition called microvascular disease.
Can You Relieve Angina Naturally?
Commonly, adults with current stable angina pectoris are prescribed pharmaceutical therapies by their physician: beta blockers, calcium channel antagonists, short acting nitrates for symptom relief, and low-dose aspirin and statins to prevent cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack. These drugs are helpful, but they are not going to reverse the underlying heart problems. The cornerstone of cardiovascular disease management is a change to a healthy lifestyle. Evidence shows that small lifestyle changes can control coronary artery disease and reduce the risk of it progressing into a heart attack. Eating healthy foods and exercising are key. Here are best foods to eat and lifestyle changes to reverse angina.
1. Stop smoking
Smoking cigarettes is detrimental to cardiovascular health and efforts should be made to stop.
Work towards a healthier body weight
The heart is a muscle. When a body is overweight every muscle in the body must work harder. A healthier body weight reduces the strain on your heart. As a bonus, most weight loss lifestyle changes lead to heart health: getting enough sleep and more exercise; and reducing stress and consumption of sugar and bad fat.
Consume omega-3 fats (EPA+DHA)
Most commonly found in fish, the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, are essential as the body cannot produce these fats on its own. They must be added through your diet. Research has found diets rich in EPA and DHA are linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease risk, in part because of their anti-inflammatory abilities.
Eat more plants
Eating plants promotes heart health. Plants include vegetables, fruits, roots, beans, lentils, peas, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds can be calorie-dense and thus are not a great choice for weight loss. Plants are your only source of dietary fiber and promote good cardiovascular health. Vegetables, beans and whole grains are a particularly excellent source of fiber. Fiber traps fat in the gut, preventing it from being absorbed by the body, helping to lower cholesterol levels. The term, whole grains can be confusing. Whole grains include oats, whole wheat pasta and brown rice.
Reduce intake of bad fats and sugar
Bad fats thicken the blood and increase the development of plaque along the artery linings. This formation of plaque, a condition called atherosclerosis, causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow. Bad fats include trans fats in processed foods and saturated fats in animal-based proteins, such as cholesterol. Cholesterol is a key culprit in atherosclerosis development. If you have high cholesterol, lowering it assists in the prevention of progression of heart disease. To lower your cholesterol, limit your consumption of animal-based proteins that are high in saturated fat such as beef and pork. Instead, find your protein from plant-based sources (beans, lentils, peas) or fish. Sugar is also unhealthy for the heart. Evidence points to high levels of sugar in the blood contributes to the progression of coronary artery disease. To improve the health of your heart, eat foods that are rich in fiber and low in refined or added sugars.
Exercising done correctly can improve angina symptoms. Don’t jump right into a plan to run a half marathon. If you have angina, your heart is struggling. To make it healthier, it is important that your heart’s capacity is evaluated by an exercise professional such as those at an ICR program. Strong evidence has shown the addition of more physical exercise to daily activities reduces angina. Studies have found some angina patients do well with aerobic exercise done at least three times a week for 30 minutes per session. Aerobic exercise involves an increase in your rate of breathing to a point where you can still talk but with some difficulty. If you have been sedentary, it is best to start with only a light-intensity exercise, such as walking, and gradually increase your aerobic exercise as your heart health improves.
Get help from a proven ICR program
Many people who have angina do not realize their heart needs help so it is important to start a cardiac rehabilitation program. If you have struggled with angina for a while, don’t worry – Medicare coverage of Pritikin ICR has no time limit. You can start today!
Why You Should Choose Pritikin ICR
Traditionally, patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs are offered exercise, but limited education on healthy lifestyle changes they can make. Pritikin ICR, however, offers double the number of sessions compared to traditional cardiac rehab. Pritikin ICR supplements the traditional 36 session of exercise with 36 education sessions which cover its three pillars: nutrition, exercise and a healthy mindset. If you are interested in a Pritikin ICR outpatient program, please ask your doctor or click here to find a location near you. The Pritikin ICR program is also available at the luxurious Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Miami, Florida where you can learn how to better care for your heart while enjoying golfing, spa treatments, fine dining and culinary classes.
Which participants qualify for Medicare reimbursement of ICR?
Qualifying conditions for ICR are the same as those for traditional cardiac rehab. If you have experienced one or more of the following events, and if you have not received Medicare-reimbursed cardiac rehab after your most recent event, you qualify for Medicare reimbursement of ICR.
- Acute myocardial infarction (within the preceding 12 months only)
- Coronary artery bypass surgery (no time limit)
- Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or stenting procedure (no time limit)
- Current stable angina pectoris (no time limit)
- Heart or heart-lung transplant (no time limit)
- Heart valve repair or replacement (no time limit)
- Chronic Heart Failure, known as CHF has the same limitations as traditional cardiac rehab. This means that not all CHF patients will qualify for reimbursement
- Angina treatments and prevention of cardiac events: an appraisal of the evidence. Eur Heart J Suppl 2015 Dec;17(Suppl G):G10-G18.
- Medical management of chronic stable angina. Aust Prescr 2015 Aug;38(4): 131-136.
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and coronary heart disease. JAMA Intern Med 2017 Aug 1; 176(8):1155-1166.
- A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of EPA and DHA and coronary heart disease risk. Mayo Clin Proc 2017 Jan;92(1):15-29.
- Dietary fibre for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016 Jan 7;(1):CD011472.
- Fat, sugar, whole grains and heart disease: 50 years of confusion. Nutrients 2018 Jan;10(1):39.