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P1136 Women and Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease The symptoms of heart disease depend on its severity. Some people with heart disease have no symptoms, some have episodes of mild chest pain or angina, and some have more severe chest pain. If too little oxygenated blood reaches the heart, a person will experience chest pain called angina. When the blood supply is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack, and the heart muscle begins to die. Some persons may have a heart attack and never recognize the symptoms. This is called a “silent” heart attack. Each year, more than 61,000 women die from heart attacks. For many women, though, a heart attack may feel like a strange discomfort in the back, or some other easily ignored sign, instead of crushing chest pain. Studies confirm that heart disease may differ in women in ways that doctors may not realize. Heart disease, in some women, doesn’t occur from obvious blockages in arteries as it does in men. Instead, for women, plaque may spread evenly along the artery wall or in the smaller arteries—areas hidden from an angiogram, the standard imaging test that measures blood flow in the big arteries. For many women a heart attack may feel like a strange discomfort in the back, or some other easily ignored sign, instead of crushing chest pain. 8


P1136 Women and Heart Disease
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