Angina is the common term used to describe a medical condition known as angina pectoris. This is a condition where extreme pain is felt in the chest of an individual because of insufficient blood flow to the heart. Angina affects any person who has poor blood flow in their coronary artery system. The coronary arteries tend to be narrower than other arteries in the body and are prone to being clogged because of a number of reasons. The clogging of the artery or partial clogging of the artery will not show up under normal conditions because the heart requires only a fraction of the blood that the coronary arteries are capable of supplying. However, when exercise is undertaken, the heart requires more oxygen and therefore, more blood to flow to its muscles. This puts a demand on the coronary artery system. When there is a blockage, the particular area of muscles will suffer from the resulting lack of oxygen compared with the effort that is being produced. This causes the patient to feel the extreme pain that is associated with angina. Angina pain is often mistaken for a heart attack. Angina can also precede a heart attack if the patient does not immediately reduce the pressure on the heart by reducing exercise.
When a patient visits a doctor complaining of angina like symptoms, the patient is usually not experiencing the symptoms at the time of the visit. This means that the doctor requires the treadmill test for angina to be conducted. A treadmill is a device which simulates a moving road under the feet of an individual. It can be set to walking, jogging and running speed. In a clinic, the patient is made to undergo the treadmill test for angina. During this test, the heart is monitored using an electrocardiogram. The angina attack may be preceded by or may simultaneously occur with abnormalities in the electrocardiogram. When the abnormalities are discovered, the patient is made to stop immediately. Some doctors follow this up with an immediate cardiac analysis using an echocardiogram because the heart continues to be beating fast even for a minute or two after the effort has subsided. The part of the heart that is paining may be visible on the echo test if it is undergoing a spasm or if it is beating slower than the rest of the heart. The treadmill test for angina is thus an effective way of simulating exercise while keeping the patient within reach of emergency medical care.More articles from the Medical Tests Category