Heart Disease Home > Causes of Angina
Angina attacks are triggered by a reduced supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart for a short period of time. There are three types of angina (stable, unstable, and variant), each with different causes and treatment options. The main angina causes are associated with coronary artery disease, but other factors, such as high blood pressure, can also trigger an attack.
Angina pectoris, or angina for short, is caused by a temporary lack of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This decrease in blood flow can happen for a number of reasons, and will vary based on the type of angina. The most common cause of angina is coronary artery disease (CAD), or what most people refer to as just heart disease. Sometimes, other types of heart disease (such as aortic stenosis) or uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause this condition. There are also a number of factors that can trigger an angina attack.
In order to understand angina causes, it is often helpful to understand the heart and the coronary arteries. Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients, which are carried to it by the blood in the coronary arteries. Similar to other muscles, the harder the heart is working, the more oxygen and nutrients it needs. However, the coronary arteries can become narrowed or clogged, which can decrease the amount of blood that goes to the heart muscle. When the coronary arteries cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart, angina symptoms can occur.