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What is the difference between chronic angina and unstable angina?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I am 72 years old(female) and had a heart attack in 1984, double by-pass in 1984 was diagnosed with heart failure. My question is what is the difference between chronic angina and unstable angina?
Posted Sun, 23 Feb 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 5 hours later
Brief Answer: See below!! Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about this diagnosis of heart failure. I hope your medications are helping you stay healthy. Angina is typically described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest. Unstable angina or sometimes referred to as acute coronary syndrome causes unexpected chest pain, and usually occurs while resting. The most common cause is reduced blood flow to the heart muscle because the coronary arteries are narrowed by fatty buildups (atherosclerosis) which can rupture causing injury to the coronary blood vessel resulting in blood clotting which blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle. This constitutes and emergency. Stable angina or chronic angina comes as a result of increased heart activity that surpasses the amount of blood flow capabilities. This occurs during exercise, stops with resting and can often be predicted. For instance, every heavy exercise would be expected to reproduces symptoms of angina. This is not an emergency. I hope this addresses your query fully. I wish you well.Thank you so much for using our services and please feel free to ask for clarifications and more information if need be. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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