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Angina - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Angina is pain or pressure in the chest that happens when your heart muscle is not getting enough blood and oxygen.

You sometimes feel it in your neck or jaw. Sometimes you may notice only that your breath is short.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your angina.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about angina and heart disease; Coronary artery disease - what to ask your doctor

Questions

What are the signs and symptoms that I am having angina? Will I always have the same symptoms?

  • What are the activities that can cause me to have angina?
  • How should I treat my chest pain, or angina, when it happens?
  • When should I call the doctor?
  • When should I call 911?

How much exercise or activity can I do?

  • Do I need to have a stress test first?
  • Is it safe for me to exercise on my own?
  • Where should I exercise, inside or outside? Which activities are better to start with? Are there activities or exercises that are not safe for me?
  • How long and how hard can I exercise?

When can I return to work? Are there limits to what I can do at work?

What should I do if I feel sad or very worried about my heart disease?

How can I change the way I live to make my heart stronger?

  • What is a heart-healthy diet? Is it okay to ever eat something that is not heart healthy? What are some ways to eat healthy when I go to a restaurant?
  • Is it okay to drink any alcohol?
  • Is it okay to be around other people who are smoking?
  • Is my blood pressure normal?
  • What is my cholesterol and do I need to take medicines for it?

Is it okay to be sexually active? Is it safe to use sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis) if I’m a man?

What medicines am I taking to treat or prevent angina?

  • Do they have any side effects?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Is it ever safe to stop any of these medicines on my own?

If I am taking aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix),  or another blood thinner, is it okay to take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or other medicines for pain due to arthritis, headache, or other problems?

It is okay to take omeprazole (Prilosec) or other medicines for heartburn?


Review Date: 10/8/2012
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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