Coronary Artery Disease in Women: Recognizing Symptoms and Differences from Men

Coronary Artery

Coronary artery disease: recognizing symptoms in women

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major cause of disability and death worldwide. It is especially dangerous for women, who often have different symptoms than men. Recognizing the signs of CAD is the first step for early diagnosis, personalized treatment and successful management of the disease.

What is CAD?

Coronary artery disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, is a narrowing of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of plaque. This buildup of cholesterol and calcium in the walls of these arteries reduces blood flow to the heart and oxygen deprivation can lead to significant cardiac events.

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Which symptoms are more frequent in women?

Women are more likely to experience the atypical symptoms of CAD including shortness of breath (even at rest), nausea or vomiting, abdominal pressure, fatigue and palpitations. These symptoms often appear with little or no chest pain and can be overlooked or misdiagnosed. Women are also more likely to present with angina (chest pain) at a later stage in their disease and experience a more rapid progression than men, making it more difficult to diagnose and manage.

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Differences in risk factorsbetween men and women

The risk factors for CAD for men and women are similar but there are some differences. In men, age, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and cholesterol levels are the main risk factors. Yet in women, additional risk factors such as menopause, high levels of homocysteine, depression and pregnancy must all be taken into consideration.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of CAD, the most common tests are echocardiograms, stress tests, stress echocardiograms, cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography. Treatment options may involve medications and lifestyle modifications or more invasive interventions such as stenting or bypass surgery.

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By recognizing the differences in symptoms and risk factors, it is possible to increase the accuracy of diagnosis and improve the outcomes of treatment for those with CAD. While lifestyle modifications and medications may be enough to successfully treat CAD, a personalised approach is recommended to ensure the best outcome.

Keywords: coronay artery disease, CAD, women, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, risk factors, lifestyle modifications, medications, echocardiograms, stress tests, cardiac catheterization, coronary angiography, stenting, bypass surgery.