Did you know that a woman's heart attack is not like a man's? They're both caused by a buildup of plaques in the heart's blood vessel walls, but beyond that, any similarity ends.
A man will usually have deposits in bigger blood vessels which are easier to detect than a woman's less visible deposits since these are more spread out in smaller vessels. If the doctor doesn't see major blockage in a woman's blood vessels, that's where the investigation will usually trail off.
Most clinical trials for heart disease are done on men, and this adds to the lack of awareness on the part of doctors as to how a female heart attack may present itself.
"Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, medical director of the Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is leading a multicenter study seeking the best ways to identify this more insidious form of heart disease. She's also pushing hard to have diagnostic guidelines changed so more physicians know to think about heart disease whenever women complain of pain above the waist."