Pharmacology II- NSGD 326
Heather Paulson, MN, RN
May 21st, 2013
There is no other organ in the body as magnificent as the heart. It seems interesting that it is also placed at the center of our bodies. Without this amazing muscle made of involuntary striated muscle cells, we would not be able to live. It is a mean machine! It only takes about 20 seconds to circulate the blood through the entire body. An adult heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body. However, there are plenty of ...view middle of the document...
Pain can often occur in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw and even the back. It is important to note that angina is not a disease, but more of a cardiac episode. It is actually a symptom or problem of and underlying heart problem. The most common type of heart disease associated with angina is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). “In a diseased heart, these 2 factors, coronary artery narrowing and endothelial dysfunction, synergistically result in reduced oxygen delivery to the myocardium. The net result is angina pectoris.” (Zanne, 2011). It can occur if a waxy substance called plague builds up on the inner walls of the arteries of the heart. Subsequently, when the plague builds up, it stiffens and narrows the arteries. This can lead to a significant reduction in the flow of oxygen-rich blood, and also makes it more likely to have blood clots in the arteries. With the deficient flow of oxygen and possible partial or complete blockage, an myocardial infarction can occur. There can be many causes such as, “anemia, heart failure, ventricular hypertrophy, or pulmonary diseases. . .” (Lemone, 2008)
There are three major types of angina. Knowing the different types is important as they each have different symptoms and different treatments. The major types of angina are stable, unstable and variant (Prinzmetal’s). Stable angina is the most common, and is more predictable than the other types. It generally has a pattern to it, and once the pattern is known and what factors trigger it, the pain can be predictable. An example of this could be excursion with exercise. The pain can be alleviated with rest. Unstable angina is just as its’ name suggests, unpredictable and unstable. It does not follow a pattern. It can occur more frequently and be more severe. Rest and drug therapies are not always successful at diminishing the pain. It can signify a myocardial infarction (MI). Varient angina is rare and is distinctive because of a spasm in a coronary artery. This often occurs at night when a person is at rest.
One of the reasons a clear understanding of angina is important is from the statistics alone. “Statistics from the American Heart Association (AHA) website (www.heart.org) suggests that: 9,800,000 people in the United States currently have angina.” Also, “500,000 new cases of stable angina occur each year.” (Aschenbrenner, 2012.)These numbers are alarming partly because diabetes, hypertension and smoking are the main causes of angina, and it can be considered to be a national problem in the United States.
When diagnosing stable or unstable angina, a doctor will take into consideration many factors. A physical exam is a good place to start, and family history, lifestyle, and the specific symptoms are all vital to a diagnosis. There are several tests that can be done to find out if the angina episodes are related to an underlying heart condition. An electrocardiogram (EKG), stress test, chest x ray, cardiac...