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Do you think you know how to recognize coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease if you had it? Well, think about this: as a woman you may experience less obvious symptoms. Ones you don't always hear about in the news or see on TV or in movies.
As a woman, you may experience things like tightness or pressure in your throat or jaw; squeezing, heaviness or a burning sensation in your upper body; or even abdominal discomfort or fullness.
Your Partner in Health, Your Physician
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of CAD, it's time to talk with your local physician about testing options. And if the list of symptoms surprised you they may surprise your loved ones too. So let's spread the word to those we care about.
It is particularly important for a woman to understand her CAD testing options because most tests don't account for the cardiovascular differences between men and women. Certain parts of women's bodies can affect the accuracy of common CAD imaging tests, leading to unnecessary repeat tests which can expose you to further risks, not to mention costs. Just one nuclear stress test, a common test for CAD, can expose you to 39 mammograms worth of radiation.
There is a sex-specific blood test available which takes such differences into account. Learning about this and your other testing options can help ensure you have smart conversations with health care professionals to create the best action plan for you and those you care about.
Prepare For Your Appointment
Not feeling confident about bringing this up with your health care professional? We can help. To better prepare yourself for a discussion with your local healthcare provider, use this simple healthcare discussion guide as a helpful resource for conversation starters about CAD with important tips and questions including:
- Could CAD be causing my symptoms, or could it be a less serious condition?
- What are my testing options (blood test, EKG, stress test, etc.)?
- Which testing options are the most accurate in women?
- What is the safest and fastest way to help determine if CAD is the cause of my symptoms?
- What are the risks and benefits of my CAD testing options?
- How can I reduce the number of tests I need to take and limit my radiation exposure?
- How much does testing cost? Is the test covered by my insurance?