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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.

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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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