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There's lots that you can do to take control of your angina
If you have been told that you have angina then there may be lots of thoughts and questions going through your mind and you may wonder what the future is going to be like.
You can help yourself by making changes to your life in areas that are known to increase the risk of developing or worsening coronary heart disease. Many of these are so-called lifestyle changes and include:
Eating a balanced diet can help to keep your heart healthy
Detailed information on all these topics is found in the Reducing your risk of heart disease section.
You may become very anxious after being diagnosed with angina. Anxiety, or panic, attacks are usually brought on by a tiny thought that goes through your mind, sometimes without you even really recognising it.
Try to pace yourself e.g. heavy jobs (such as gardening and decorating) at home can be dealt with a little at a time, but don't let the thought of them cause anxiety.
Keeping active can help to control your angina
As well as making any necessary lifestyle changes to lower your risk factors and reduce your overall risk of heart disease, keeping active can actually help to control your angina.
The heart is a muscle and it needs to be exercised to keep it strong. When you are sitting still it hardly has to work at all. The less you do the less you become able to do. The more unfit you become the more your angina can affect you and this can make you more anxious about activity bringing angina on.
Remember to speak to your doctor if you are in any doubt about what you can do.
If you are unsure about how much activity you can manage, or have unstable angina, it is advisable to speak to your doctor about what you can do.
Walking is a great way to keep active
It is easy to become unfit if you stop being active. Anything requiring effort will be harder for the heart to cope with, and your angina may come on more quickly.
The downward spiral of inactivity can soon take hold and it a can be a long slow process to gradually build up again to be able to do what you want to be able to do.
Some hospitals run angina rehabilitation programmes of structured activity to help you build up your level of activity.
Other benefits include:
Any form of exertion can bring angina on e.g. climbing stairs, carrying shopping, walking up a slope or hurrying.