Despite advances in treatment and awareness, there is still a gender gap in the heart disease survival rate between women and men. More women die from heart disease every year, and women are less likely to survive a heart attack. The gap can partly be explained by biology, specifically the development of coronary microvascular disease (MVD).
Many women with MVD are often undiagnosed and undertreated. That’s because standard tests used to diagnose heart disease are not designed to detect MVD. In addition, people – including some physicians – are unaware of the differences in heart disease for women.
Symptoms of MVD are often the same as those of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, while CAD occurs from blockages in the large vessels of the heart, MVD results when small blockages occur in many of the tiny branch vessels of the heart. This reduces overall blood flow in the heart and can lead to increased risk for sudden cardiac death, heart attack, heart failure and disability from chest pain.
That’s why Seton Heart Institute has developed a specialized Women’s Heart Center to help identify and treat women experiencing symptoms of heart disease. In addition to gender-specific diagnostic testing we take a holistic approach to treatment, including hormone considerations. Fortunately, when it comes to women and heart disease, diseases are not only treatable, but preventable.
To schedule an appointment, please call 877-860-1141.
More about the Women’s Heart Center
Dr. Caitlin Giesler, medical director at the Women’s Heart Center at Ascension Seton, talks about providing comprehensive services for risk assessment, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women.