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Risk Factors of Angina Pectoris

That Crushing Chest Pain
This is a suffocating and choking pain which is felt in the chest. Angina pectoris is typically described as a squeezing pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in the chest. It is caused by the narrowing and hardening of the main blood vessels going to the heart, thereby limiting or reducing the blood supply to the heart muscles. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD). Like all the organs and tissues in the body, the heart needs a constant supply of highly oxygenated blood to function properly and/ or normally. If this supply is interrupted in any form, the end result is coronary artery disease (CAD).

What is a Risk Factor?

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing or getting a disease. It is important to note that having a risk factor does not necessarily mean that he/ she will develop the disease. This is because risk factors does not cause the disease, rather they help or promote the possibilities of getting it. Sometimes, people who do not have risk factors still develop it (disease). Generally, the more risk factors a person have, the higher the tendency for him/ her to develop the symptoms and/ or the disease.

Risk Factors

The risk factors of angina (or angina Pectoris) are anything which causes the coronary artery to narrow and/ or thickens, thereby cause Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and heart attack. This can increase a person’s risk or chances of developing angina. Below are some of the angina specific risk factors.


As you advance in age, the risk of developing angina increases. This could be because the arteries are likely to constrict or narrowed with time. Generally, this is expected to occur from 65 years upward.


Angina Pectoris is more common in men before the ages of 70 and 75 and after the ages of 70 and 75 is more common in women. The reason for this could be as a result of atherosclerosis (the deposition of fats on the walls of arteries which are a major cause of angina). It usually occur earlier in men than in women. This is the one reason why heart attacks in women tends to occur later in life than it does in men. When this atheroma (fats) buildup occur, it is known as Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

High Blood Pressure

This is a disorder of the blood and Cardiovascular System (CVS). It is also called hypertension. This is a disorder that causes an increase in your blood pressure. The arteries are basically design to carry blood at a particular pressure, and this pressure is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance the arteries provide to the flow of blood. If this pressure is exceeded, the walls of your arteries becomes damaged over time. This increases your chance of developing angina Pectoris. High blood pressure can be caused by,

  • Obesity (over weight),
  • Smoking,
  • Stress,
  • Alcoholism,
  • Lack of exercise.

History of Heart Disease

If you as an individual have previously had a history of heart attack or coronary heart disease (CHD), then you are at greater risk of developing angina pectoris. Go for medical check up regularly and seeks for advice.

Genetics or Family History

Coronary heart disease (CHD) Can run in a family from one generation to another. So if a close relative like your father, mother, brother or sister have a history of heart disease or angina, you are also at risk of developing angina pectoris. This could be as a result of mutated genes being passed on from one generation to the next, and there are indications that the environment of an individual could activate such genes.

High Blood Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for the proper functioning of the body. There are different types of cholesterol, if there are high levels of the "bad" cholesterol called low density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood stream, it is harmful, because this fats can be deposited (atheroma) on the walls of the arteries and cause blockage (atherosclerosis) in the process. Therefore, high levels of "bad" cholesterol in the blood increases your risk of developing angina and heart attack. A high levels of triglycerides in blood is also harmful.


This is the inability of your body to metabolize glucose. This could be as a result of the inability of your pancreas to produce enough insulin (hormone) or as a result of insulin insensitivity. If your diabetes is poorly controlled, the excess glucose in your blood can cause damage to the walls of your arteries thereby causing angina pectoris. People with diabetes are also likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels hence increasing their chances of developing coronary heart disease (CHD).


This is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. Obesity raises your chances of developing angina pectoris and coronary heart disease (CHD). Obesity is associated with high fats levels in blood, diabetes, blood pressure, etc. Therefore, loosing weight if you are over weight will help in reducing your risk of developing angina pectoris.


Stress can increase your risk or chances of developing angina and heart attack. Angina is likely to be triggered by emotional stress in women than in men. Too much stress as well as anger, depression, fear can increase your blood pressure. Surges of hormones produced during stress can narrow your arteries and cause angina pectoris. When in stressful condition, your heart muscles work harder and the demand for blood increases. If the coronary arteries are narrowed, the required amount of blood is unable to reach the heart in time, thereby triggering the symptoms of angina pectoris.

Alcoholism/ Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking of alcohol can cause your blood cholesterol levels to increase and consequently increases your blood pressure. Hence, too much drinking can increase your risk of developing angina.

Lack of Exercise

A lack of regular exercise can raise your blood pressure and increase your chances of developing diabetes. Therefore, people living a sedentary lifestyle have a doubled chance of developing heart attack and/ or angina pectoris than those who exercise regularly.


Chewing of tobacco and smoking of cigarettes causes damages to the walls of your arteries and raises/ increases your chance of developing atherosclerosis. If your arteries are damaged, blood cells such as platelets form at the site of the damaged artery in an attempt to repair it, thereby causing your arteries to narrow. Smoking also decreases your blood's ability to carry sufficient oxygen around your body, which increases the risk of blood clotting. Therefore, cigaretts smoking and tobacco use increases your risk of developing angina.

See a Doctor

If you have some of the risk factors stated above, if your chest pain is becoming frequent with exertion and lasts for few seconds to about 5 minutes and seems not to go away even when you have rested or sometimes relief you only with adequate rest. Dear, it could be
Call Your Doctor!
Make an appointment with your doctor and get evaluated for proper treatment. If the chest pain is sudden and persistent, please call your local emergency service.

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