Stable angina is the most common type of angina. It occurs when the heart is working harder than usual. The angina pain comes at predicable times (such as during exercise) and usually goes away in a few minutes after you rest or take your angina medicine. This type of angina is usually caused by coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries are blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. When these arteries become clogged with fatty deposits called plaque, it's called coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease, or just heart disease. Clogged arteries can keep the heart from getting enough blood and oxygen, which can cause chest pain.
Unstable angina is a dangerous condition that requires emergency treatment, as it is a sign that a heart attack could occur soon. Unlike stable angina, it does not follow a pattern. It can occur without physical exertion and is not relieved by rest or medicine.
Variant angina is rare; it usually occurs at rest and is caused by spasms in the arteries of the heart. It may be associated with coronary artery disease, but it can also occur in people who have otherwise healthy hearts. Variant angina can increase your risk of a heart attack or an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
Some versions of diltiazem are approved to treat stable angina, variant angina, or both. Diltiazem helps the blood vessels to relax, which relieves chest pain and lessens the workload on the heart.
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