health as it happens

Living with stable angina - Harvard Health

Many people with heart disease have predictable episodes of chest discomfort. To treat this chronic problem, medications are almost always the best treatment.


Coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease, happens when the network of arteries that nourish the heart are narrowed by fatty and calcified plaque, a condition called atherosclerosis. The classic symptom — chest discomfort during physical exertion — is known as stable angina because it occurs in a predictable pattern.

As many as two-thirds of people with coronary artery disease have stable angina, which generally resolves with rest within a few minutes (see "What does angina feel like?"). For decades, cardiologists debated the best way to treat this problem: a procedure to reopen the artery (angioplasty and a stent) or optimal medical therapy. Optimal medical therapy means taking any medications you need to get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels — the factors that underlie atherosclerosis risk — into a healthy range.

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