Angina pectoris

From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Hector 2014-05-14 (EDT)

Angina pectoris, often referred to as angina, occurs when the oxygen supply or nutrient supply to the heart muscle is inadequate to meet the demands. Angina is typically described as a squeezing or pressure like pain in the chest precipitated by factors such as exertion, emotional stress, or exposure to cold.[1] Angina is often relieved by rest, but may also require medication.

Angina pectoris

Angina Pectoris
Causes Dietary Factors, Smoking, Stress, Breathing Disorders
See Also Cardiovascular Conditions, Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Hypercholestemia
Books Books on Cardiovascular Conditions
Articles Articles on Cardiovascular Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

The assessment of Angina pectoris is commonly based on a person's history and on a physical exam. Since there are many causes of chest pain the first task of a naturopathic doctor or any other primary care physician is to rule out life threatening conditions.[2]

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to the angina symptoms and to determine the risk of more serious conditions such as a heart attack.


Check out this book The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family From Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies - and More
  • Large meals can increase the risk.[3]
  • Smokers and ex-smokers have an increased risk of unstable angina, although the risk decreases for ex-smokers especially after 5 years of being smoke free.[4]


  • Breathing pattern disorders such as hyperventilation has been found to trigger angina attacks.[5]
  • Up to 90% of non-cardiac related chest pain stems from breathing pattern disorders. Chest pain of this nature typically presents itself as angina that lasts for hours rather than minutes. In addition, it is usually relieved upon mild exertion rather than exacerbated. Breathing pattern disorders can provoke existing cardiovascular conditions as a result of its vasoconstrictive effect on the smooth muscle of the body (including cardiovascular) leading to a possible blockage and subsequent damage to the heart.[7]


  • Emotional tension often preceeds an angina attack.[3]
  • Stress and anxiety, especially if acute or extreme, is commonly associated with angina attacks.[3]


  • Temperatures
  • Cold weather causes the blood vessels to constrict and can result in an increase in frequency of angina attacks in the winter months.[3]

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Thyroid medications, among others may exacerbate angina.


  • Family history appears to be a factor in predicting the risk of angina.[4]

Diagnostic Testing

Heart fitness.jpg

The diagnosis of angina is often made based on the presenting symptoms. To confirm an angina attack, to determine the severity of the condition and to rule out other conditions the following diagnostic tests are typically performed:

Related Symptoms and Conditions

The symptoms of angina are close to those of a panic attack and heartburn. It is common for people to confuse them. If in doubt it is always best to be checked out by your naturopathic doctor or other health care provider.[3]

It is common for angina to be associated with or to mimic other conditions such as:[3]


The symptoms of angina include:

  • Squeezing or pressure-like pain in the chest immediately after exertion. [3]
  • Pain may radiate to the left shoulder blade, left arm or jaw. [3] but is most commonly felt beneath the sternum. [1]
  • Pain typically lasts 1 to 20 minutes. [2]

Angina is classified as:

  • Stable angina refers to angina where the symptoms are consistent and dissipate quickly at rest.[8]
  • Unstable angina. If the symptoms change or increase in intensity or duration than the classification changes from stable angina to unstable angina.[1] Unstable angina is also sometimes referred to as acute coronary insufficiency, preinfarction angina, or intermediate syndrome. 30% of patients with unstable angina will suffer Myocardial infarction within 3 months of onset.[1]
  • Variant or Prinzmetal’s angina is secondary to large vessel spasm and pain will occur at rest and ECG results show ST elevation instead of depression.[1]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Angina pectoris is typically an acute serious condition resulting from an underlying chronic disease that requires careful treatment and monitoring. Referral for other medical treatment may be necessary. The two main primary therapeutic goals are to improve energy metabolism within the heart and to improve blood supply to the heart. [10] It is important to address underlying Hypertension, Diabetes, or Obesity concerns if applicable.[2]

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Increase exercise such as walking.[10] It is also important to monitor physical activity to prevent too vigorous of a workout from triggering angina by following a medically supervised plan. [3], [2]
  • Decreasing stress[8], progressive relaxation, biofeedback[8], meditation or guided imagery have been known to be beneficial.[2]
  • Stress reduction through relaxation, yoga, qi gong, and behavioural therapy.[2]

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for angina include:

Gemmotherapies such as Ligustrum vulgare, Syringa vulgaris

  • Differentials to consider include general conditions such as; qi and blood stagnation, blood and phlegm stagnation, blood deficiency.[13].
  • Specific organ pathologies to consider include; heart qi deficiency and heart yang deficiency.[13]
  • Acupuncture points to consider include; PC6, UB14, ST40, UB13, LU9, ST22 or ashi near ST22, LI3, SP6, LR5 or ashi near LR5, LU11, PC9, HT9, ST36, GB34, UB40, LI4, TW3, SI3, LR4, KD3.[13]

Specialized Naturopathic Therapies

Specialized therapies that are used to treat anemia include:

  • Intravenous Therapies such as EDTA chelation, IV Magnesium chloride or Magnesium sulfate, Myers' cocktail.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Berga S, Bowman M, Drossman D, Faling J, Frenkel E, Gabbard G et al. (1992) The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and therapy 16th edition. Rathway: Merck & Co Inc.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 El-Hashemy Shehab (2007) Naturopathic Standards of Primary Care CCNM Press Inc.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Mulvihill, Selman, Holdaway, Tompary, Raymond editors (2006) Human Diseases – A Systemic Approach 6th ed. Pearson Educatin Inc.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Merry AH, Boer JM, Schouten LJ, Feskens EJ, Verschuren WM, Gorgels AP, van den Brandt PA (2011) Smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and family history and the risks of acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina pectoris: a prospective cohort study. BMC Cardiovasc Disord;11:13. PMID:21435252.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chaitow, L, Bradley, D, and Gilbert, C (2002) Multidisciplinary Approaches To Breathing Pattern Disorders Churchill Livingstone
  6. Christensen HW, Vach W, Gichangi A, Manniche C, Haghfelt T, Høilund-Carlsen PF(2005) Cervicothoracic angina identified by case history and palpation findings in patients with stable angina pectoris. J Manipulative Physiol Ther.;28(5):303-11.PMID:15965404
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 Smith Fraser, Winterstein James(2008) An Introduction to Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Medicine CCNM Press Inc., Toronto:pg116-131
  9. Goldman editor. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine, 24th ed. [internet]. Saunders; (2011) Chapter 161 Approach to the Anemias. [cited 2012 Jan]. Available from:
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Pizzorno Joseph, Murray Michael, Joiner-Bey Herb (2002) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone.
  11. Bone, K and Morgan, M (1999) Astragalus membranaceus - Astragalus MediHerb.
  12. Bharani A, Ganguli A, Mathur LK, Jamra Y, Raman PG (2002) Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate. Indian Heart Journal;54:170-175.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Kuoch David(2011) Acupuncture Desk Reference. 2nd ed. Acumedwest Inc.:pg290-307