Health Day (7/16/10 Preidt) has reported that women are three times as likely as men with severe angina to develop severe coronary artery disease (CAD).
Angina is a type of chest discomfort most frequently described as a squeezing or pressing pain in the chest. It is related to blockage of the arteries that supply the heart causing a lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Angina may also occur as other types of discomfort including chest burning, jaw pain, and back pain. Angina frequently increases with physical activity.
In the above noted study, researchers found that women with class IV angina, which is the most serious type of angina occurring at rest or with minimal exercise, are at a much greater risk of developing severe blockages then men.
Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of heart disease in women can contribute to an elevated mortality making early and accurate diagnosis of great importance. When heart disease is suspected, further evaluation, in particular, stress testing can be very useful in early detection of blockages to the heart. Dr. Steven Reisman, a Cardiologist in New York City and one of the early pioneers in the area of nuclear cardiology has stated that nuclear cardiac stress testing has been shown to be accurate in risk assessment and prognosis in women with both typical and “atypical” chest discomfort.