Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a chronic condition affecting millions of people around the world. While it commonly affects both men and women, it can appear differently in women, leading to potential delays in diagnosis and treatment. The following summarizes CHD and how it particularly affects women:

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

CHD refers to a group of conditions caused by narrowed coronary arteries, the blood vessels supplying oxygen to your heart. This narrowing restricts blood flow, leading to:

  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Heart attack, in severe cases

Symptoms Of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease develops gradually and may not cause symptoms in the early stages. Usually, people of both genders observe:

Chest pain, neck or left arm discomfort, feeling cold and sweaty, nausea, shortness of breath, and increased fatigue.

Women, however, may experience less common signs such as:

Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal pain, shortness of breath with or without chest pain, pain in one or both arms, nausea or vomiting, cold sweats, dizziness, unusual fatigue, and heart palpitations.

Different Impacts On Women

Because of several reasons, women are affected differently by coronary heart disease.

Higher risk post-menopause: Estrogen offers some protection until menopause, but its decline increases risk.

Early menopause: Early menopause, especially due to hysterectomy, further elevates risk.

Smaller heart and arteries: Women's smaller heart and thinner arteries can affect diagnostic tests and treatment options.

Microvascular disease: This condition affects small heart arteries, complicating diagnosis and treatment for women.

Promoting Awareness Among Women

While both genders share common risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity contributing to CHD, certain factors significantly impact its development in women. Diagnostic procedures are equivalent for both genders, yet women might encounter delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important for managing CHD. Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. Women under the age of 65, particularly those with a family history of heart disease, should be extra cautious regarding heart disease risk factors. By understanding how CHD affects women and recognizing its unique symptoms, we can improve awareness and ensure timely intervention.