Women often have Undiagnosed Heart Disease
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.
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