Heart Disease in Women and Men

Monday, August 30, 2010

Although heart disease is often thought of as a problem for men, more women die of heart disease each year. One challenge for women is that their heart disease symptoms can be different from symptoms in men. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the differences in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Women with heart disease may have worse outcomes than men do because treatment typically focuses on obstructive coronary artery disease.

For many women, the problem is not obstruction in major heart blood vessels, but a reduction in blood flow, called ischemia, in very small arteries of the heart.

Physicians at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in a review proposed that the term coronary heart disease be used when the problem is obstructed major coronary vessels, but that the term ischemic heart disease be used when the problem is reduced blood flow because of small artery problems.

About 25 to 50 percent of women with heart disease dont fit the typical male coronary heart disease pattern and instead have ischemic heart disease. As a result, treatment strategies arent optimized for women because they often dont fit the mold.

More women than men die annually in the United States from heart disease455,000 women compared to 410,000 men.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.