Coronary Artery Disease Is More Fatal in Women


More women die of cardiovascular disease than other causes and most deaths from coronary artery disease.

Most women with the coronary artery disease have a "common" form of the same disease as in men. On average, women who start having a coronary artery disease are about 10 years older than men with coronary artery disease, and these "older" women have almost the same results as men when compared to age versus at least when coronary artery disease is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, more women with men exhibit an "atypical" pattern of coronary artery disease, and this atypical pattern often results in a wrong diagnosis and inadequate therapy, and because of this, usually results in worse outcomes.

Generally, 3 aspects of coronary artery disease often cause problems in women:

  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease can vary from woman to woman
  • The standard method of diagnosing coronary artery disease can be misleading for women
  • Coronary artery disease can be atypical in women

These characteristics of atypical coronary artery disease, when combined with the wrong idea (which is still believed by many doctors) that "women do not get a heart attack," contribute greatly in delaying the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease in women. These three factors are:

Symptoms of coronary artery disease can be different for each woman

When women have angina, they are more likely to experience "atypical" symptoms than men. Instead of chest pain, they often experience a burning or burning sensation, or even softness to the touch, which may be on the back, shoulders, arms, or jaw - and women often do not experience chest discomfort at all.

A vigilant doctor will think of angina every time the patient describes a feeling of discomfort at a glance when activities are located anywhere above the waist, and they really should not be underestimated by the description of the "atypical" symptoms. However, if doctors do not think specifically about the possibility of coronary artery disease, they will most likely consider these symptoms only as muscle and bone pain or digestive disorders.

A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) also tend to act differently in women. Rather than painful chest pain which is considered common for heart attacks, women often experience nausea, vomiting, indigestion, shortness of breath or extreme fatigue - but not chest pain. Unfortunately, this symptom is also easily considered something other than heart disease. In addition, women (especially with diabetes) are also more likely to have "silent" heart attacks than men - that is, heart attacks without any acute symptoms at all, and which are only diagnosed later, if subsequent heart symptoms appear.

Diagnosis of coronary artery disease in women can be more difficult


Diagnosis tests that work very well in men can be misleading for women. The most common problem is during stress tests in women, an electrocardiogram (ECG) during exercise often shows changes that indicate coronary artery disease, whether coronary artery disease appears, making studies difficult to translate. Many cardiologists routinely add echocardiograms or thallium studies when performing stress tests in women, which dramatically improves diagnostic accuracy.

In women with typical coronary artery disease, coronary angiography is as useful as that done in men; identify the exact location of plaques (ie blockages) in the coronary arteries, and guide therapeutic decisions. However, in women with atypical coronary artery abnormalities, a coronary angiogram often seems normal which is actually wrong. Therefore, female angiography is often not a standard diagnosis, which is usually used in men.

Coronary artery disease in women can be atypical

At least 4 atypical coronary artery abnormalities can occur in women, usually in young women (who have not yet menopause). Each of these conditions can produce angina symptoms with coronary arteries that look "normal" (coronary arteries that often appear normal on the angiogram). The problem, of course, is if the doctor believes the results of an angiogram, the actual diagnosis will be missed.

Conclusion

Although arterial cancer disease is very common in women, it is clear in recent years that coronary artery disease in women can be very different from coronary artery disease in men. This makes the diagnosis of coronary artery disease right for women.

If you or your closest people are worried that you might have coronary artery disease, make sure you know about atypical symptoms that accompany coronary artery disease in women and atypical diagnostic test results that you might encounter during the evaluation. Plus, make sure doctors are also aware of this atypical pattern before doctors consider this symptom as non-heart.

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