There is so little information around about Prinzmetal's and having that diagnosis can feel like a lonely place - Rebecca, From the Heart 999
So where to begin, well the beginning is probably the best place – cue wavy lines and hazing out as we jump back in time.
Before July 2014 I was what some might call a type A personality, I can hear my husband laughing and muttering ‘you still are’ under his breath. I was a highly ambitious executive spending the majority of my career working for FTSE 100 companies. My working days were usually between 10 -15 hours long not including a couple of hour commute into the city. My spare time consisted of working on my PhD and occasionally seeing my husband and my 3 step children. I had a Margret Thatcher philosophy of only sleeping for between 4-5 hours a night.
So what happened?…
So where to begin, well the beginning is probably the best place – cue wavy lines and hazing out as we jump back in time. Before July 2014 I was what some might call a type A personality, I can hear my husband laughing and muttering ‘you still are’ under his breath. I was a highly ambitious executive spending the majority of my career working for FTSE 100 companies.
Chest pain is a common symptom of coronary artery disease. However, people without fixed, severe coronary blockages also can have chest pain due to a rare condition called coronary spasm. While the number of people with coronary spasm is very small, the disorder is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
The American Prinzmetal's Angina Association, Inc. has been formed to foster awareness about this little known but devastating heart disease.
From the Heart 999 is primarily a blog about living with a rare condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which for me results in a rare form of angina called Prinzmetal's. Although there are many names for this condition including vasospastic angina, variant angina and coronary artery spasms...
The cause of Prinzmetal Angina is a diffuse or segmental spasm in the coronary arteries which generate a decrease in blood supply to the myocardium generating chest pain. The coronary arteries may spasm as a result of exposure to cold weather, exercise, or a substance that promotes vasoconstriction such as alpha-agonists (pseudoephedrine and oxymetazoline). The use of recreation drugs such as cocaine has also been associated with the development of vasospastic angina, especially when associated the use of cigarettes.
Episodes of chest pain caused by Prinzmetal's angina usually occur in clusters, with periods of frequent episodes lasting for a few months followed by weeks or months with no chest pain episodes. The pain usually occurs between midnight and approximately 8:00 AM. Prinzmetal's angina may be brought on by hyperventilation, exposure to cold, or extreme emotional stress.
There is no specific cure. Managing lifestyle factors is important in prevention. Smoking, alcohol, and high levels of anxiety have a significant role in coronary spasm.
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