Women’s Heart Disease is experiencing an identity crisis.
Perhaps you read the article in the Los Angeles Times. As it stands, all heart disease is referred to by the medical terms of coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease. This is a serious problem for women. Women experience and display different symptoms than men. Additionally, the current focus of treatment for heart disease centers on obstructive coronary artery disease. While this is fine for men, women have less obstructive disease but higher rates of ischemia. To make matters worse, women with heart disease have more microvascular dysfunction – affecting the small blood vessels of the body – compared with men.
A lot of bad news, right? Well, to clarify matters a bit, a name change has been recommended which may help doctors tailor diagnostic tests and treatments to better suit the female patient.
The good folks behind the W.I.S.E. Study at Cedar-Sinai argue the term ‘Ischemic Heart Disease’ should be used to describe the illness experienced by women.
Until this is understood and accepted by the medical community as a whole, however, we need to be prepared to offer a bit of education to our treating physician.
So, what questions might you have prepared for your doctor should you believe your chest pain may be microvascular in nature?
Questions for Your Doctor
Whether this is your first trip or a follow-up visit, be prepared with the following questions:
1.) What kind of tests will you recommend / perform?
2.) What results do you expect to find?
3.) Can these tests detect ischemia in the small vessels?
4.) Are you familiar with ‘Syndrome X’ a.k.a. Microvascular Angina?
5.) What further testing is available should initial testing fail to find anything?
Be prepared with research in hand to accompany the above questions. The following web links should help:
For further information or for the above links, please visit http://rebeccasheart.wordpress.com/
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