Angina is a Greek word which means a ‘strangling’. It refers to painful suffocation and spasms. Angina pectoris refers to the heart, where there is a sudden onset of severe chest pain that has a crushing feeling. The pain sometimes radiates down the left arm and up to the left side of the jaw. Angina is often associated with sweating, nausea, shortness of breath and anxiety.
The spiritual root behind angina depends on the underlying cause. There are 3 different types of angina:
1. STABLE ANGINA: This is associated with exercise – for example you get chest pain after running a certain distance, or when walking, especially up a hill or when climbing stairs. The pain lasts less than 10 minutes and is relieved by stopping to sit down and rest. In the majority of cases, this type of angina is caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart. To understand how this works you need to first read the following chapters in this order:
In summary of the above chapters, cholesterol (which is partly due to inherited genetic factors), forms fatty plaques on the blood vessel walls. This narrows the blood vessels which leads to insufficient blood reaching the muscle of the heart. Whenever there is insufficient blood supply to an area of your body, it causes intense pain. It is the body’s way of letting you know that that area of tissue is in trouble! This is the reason for chest pain in stable angina. The spiritual root is a low self-esteem, self-hatred, selfcondemnation, guilt and/or people who are very, very angry with themselves. This can also be inherited in
family trees that have this mindset.
2. UNSTABLE ANGINA AND VARIANT ANGINA: The spiritual root behind these two types of angina is fear, anxiety and stress. In this case, the chest pain comes any time, even when you are at rest. The pain is more severe than with stable angina and it lasts longer (more than 10 minutes). The pain is not relieved by stopping to rest. This type of angina often leads to heart attacks. This is caused by spasm of the muscular walls of the coronary arteries. To understand how this works, you need to read the chapter on “How Long
Term Fear, Anxiety and Stress Affects Your Body” on page 180, before reading this section further.
As you read in that chapter, the first organ system to be targeted and damaged during stage 2 and 3 of stress is the heart and blood vessels. The life is in the blood and if the enemy can strangle the life of a person, he’s winning the battle.
Luke 21 v26: “In the last days men’s hearts shall fail them because of fear.” (KJV)
A thought life dominated by fear and anxiety will put your body into stage 2 and 3 of stress. In this toxic state, the hypothalamus (which is the mind-body connection) sets in motion an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These two nervous systems have opposite effects on the body – in other words they counteract each other. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work closely together to regulate many functions of the heart, for example the rhythm, speed and strength at which it beats. For example, when you start running the sympathetic nervous system will stimulate the heart to beat faster and more strongly so that it pumps out more blood which is needed by the muscles. When you stop and rest, the parasympathetic nervous system
will stimulate your heart to slow down.
The life is in the blood and if the enemy can strangle the life of a person, he’s winning the battle.
These two nervous systems also affect the diameter of the blood vessels in the heart. Stimulation by the parasympathetic nervous system will make the blood vessels wider. Stimulation by the sympathetic nervous system will cause the muscular walls of the heart blood vessels to contract, thus decreasing the diameter of the blood vessels. Normally this effect is over ridden by other break down products of metabolism which cause the blood vessels to widen. However, with persistent stimulation by the over active sympathetic nervous system during stage 2 and 3 of stress, the blood vessels go into spasm. Spasm of the walls of the blood vessels results in narrowing of the arteries, which are often already narrowed by the fatty plaques described in stable angina above. The consequence
is not enough blood reaches the heart, which causes the chest pain of unstable and variant angina.
Remember I explained that the sympathetic nerves also make the heart beat faster – this makes angina worse. When the heart pumps blood it contracts and then relaxes, contracts and then relaxes, contracts and then relaxes… The heart muscle is supplied with blood from the coronary arteries during the period that the heart relaxes. When the heart is beating fast, the time during which the heart relaxes is shortened. Therefore the time during which the heart muscle is supplied with blood is shortened. As a result less blood is supplied to the heart which worsens the angina.
Angina is a symptom of a compromised blood supply to the heart which has potentially serious complications. Therefore I recommend the use of medical drugs such as nitrates for the treatment of angina in the short term. These drugs cause the blood vessels of the heart to widen so that more blood reaches the heart muscle, temporarily protecting it from damage. However, these drugs are not a long term solution – you must parallel that with dealing with the spiritual issues and toxic mindsets behind it. This is the only way that angina will be permanently eradicated and the diseases that it causes prevented.
In this regard, the following two chapters will help you:
• “Who You Are In Christ” on page 498 – Freedom from guilt, self-hatred, self-rejection, anger and hostility towards yourself etc comes from understanding who you are in Christ, establishing your identity and sense of self worth in Him and learning to see yourself the way that God sees you.
• “Dealing with Fear, Anxiety and Stress” on page 523.
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