Heart disease and women

Women with coronary artery disease present somewhat differently from men. Studies show they characterize their disease differently, describing it as more intense, sharp or burning. They also have more frequent symptoms unrelated to pain, as well as discomfort in the neck and throat.

Doctors tend to downplay the possibility of heart disease in women, leading to less aggressive testing and treatment. MedPage Today reports on study showing that “primary care physicians interpret chest pain or other coronary artery disease symptoms as psychogenic when the patient is an anxious woman.”

That’s a mistake. Exclude coronary artery disease first before concluding it’s anxiety.