Women often have Undiagnosed Heart Disease
Important new research from the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's WISE study (for Women's Ischemia
Syndrome Evaluation) has shown that women frequently have the pain that's
associated with blocked arteries, but that testing-called angiography-reveals
no blockage. These women are not treated as being at risk of heart attack.
But the truth for many of these
women is that cholesterol is building up in very small arteries of the heart,
causing narrowing, reduced oxygen flow to the heart and pain that can be similar
to that of people with blocked arteries. But the plaque does not show up when
doctors use standard tests
WISE investigators found that the majority of women with "clear"
angiography who are not diagnosed will continue to have symptoms, a declining
quality of life and repeated hospitalizations and tests. These women need
to be getting treatment for their condition.
If you have experienced something similar-going to the doctor because of chest
pain only to find out that tests don't reveal a problem, it might be time
to talk about the WISE study results with you doctor.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 31 January 2006