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Angina Pectoris – Frequently asked questions

Q. How much time does anginal pain persist ?

A. Anginal pain usually lasts for 1-5 minutes and is relieved by taking rest or medicine.

Q. How much time does the antianginal medication (sublingual medications such as glyceryl trinitrate)* take to relieve the symptoms?

A. The anginal symptoms usually gets relieved within 2-3 minutes of taking drug.

Q. My angina is not relieved by taking the antianginal medication, what do I do?

A. If angina is persisting even after 5 minutes of taking drug, the drug can be repeated (maximum thrice)

Q. The frequency of anginal attacks are increasing and it gets precipitated on lesser exertion. What could be the  significance?

A. This means your angina is getting worse and you should seek your doctors advice.

Q. Whenever I take sublingual (below the tongue) antianginal medication, I have some headache. How can it be  avoided ?

A. Spit the undisolved part of medicine as soon as your angina gets relieved.

Q. I am having the problem of headache since I started taking antianginal medications, what do I do ?

A. Nitrates frequently cause headache and it may decrease with continuous use. But if it is persisting or very much distressing, the dose or drug modification is required and you should consult your doctor.

Q. I am suffering from angina, is it safe to continue with my normal sex life?

A. Angina is not a contraindication to sex. But if angina occurs during sex, prophylactic (for prevention) sublingual  nitroglycerine (below the tongue) can be taken before.

Q. I frequently have upper abdominal discomfort, is it related to use of aspirin ?

A. Although aspirin may cause upper abdominal discomfort and pain, its better to consult your doctor for proper evaluation because it could also be anginal pain. The discomfort and pain caused by aspirin usually improves by taking enteric coated tablets, antacid and H2 receptor blocker drugs.

Q. Alcohol can protect from heart disease, is it true ?

A. There are reports that mild alcohol consumption (2-3 pegs/day) can be protective by increasing the good (HDL) cholesterol level and and reducing the clotting tendency of blood. But this point should not overemphasized considering the fact that exercise, reduction of obesity and aspirin are better alternatives. Heavy drinking, on the other hand is associated with high blood pressure, high calorie intake leading to obesity and adverse cardiac events.

Q. What should be the level of bad and good cholesterol and how can it be achieved ?

A. The targeted level of bad (LDL) cholesterol is below 100 mg/dl and good (HDL) cholesterol is above 60 mg/dl respectively. This can be achieved by diet planning, regular exercise and use of lipid lowering drugs.