Often labeled the "silent killer," heart disease is a leading cause of death for women in the Unites States. Yet, only 56 percent of women are aware of this fact. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a common form of heart disease. It is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries supplying the heart with blood and oxygen and is a leading cause of heart attacks, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) and even death.
Unfortunately, women often overlook CAD because we do not experience the typical indicators that men do. Men typically experience shortness of breath or clutching chest pain while women may experience less obvious CAD-related symptoms. These can stem from less serious conditions, like heartburn or stress, when the core problem may actually be from a blockage in her heart arteries or CAD.
Because these symptoms can be easily disregarded, it is so important for women to listen to their bodies, understand and identify possible red flags, and get to the root of their symptoms.
Here are some atypical symptoms women may experience:
- Chest pain, tightness or discomfort
- Generalized weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Heartburn, indigestion, or abdominal discomfort
- Awareness of heartbeat
- Tightness or pressure in the throat, jaw, shoulder, abdomen, back or arm
- A burning sensation in the upper body