Heart Diseases in Women - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/27/06

Heart Diseases in Women

When it comes to heart disease in women, symptoms are often different than those in men. That's why Dr. Neica Goldberg wrote a book called "Women are Not Small Men," Now reprinted as "The Women's Healthy Heart Program." She says, "To really focus on the issue that women's physiology, her symptoms of heart disease was going to be different than that of a man."

Most men feel that crushing pain on the chest, while women can feel fatigue, indigestion or have difficulty breathing. Men develop bumpy plaque inside their arteries. While women et plaque that is more evenly distributed. That's why their symptoms may be more subtle.

Fifteen years ago, Rose Jackman was a smoker. "I would feel a certain panting in terms of my breathing being labored at the time," she said. Rose had a stress test which showed no signs of heart trouble. But Dr. Goldberg insisted on an Angiogram. "They discovered that I had a ninetynine percent block in my left main and they proceed to do an emergency angioplasty."

Stephanie Oster was thirtyfour when she had a heart attack while studying in Spain. "It was crushing pain in my chest.  Some people say, like, an elephant stepping on your chest," she said. Stephanie was rushed to the hospital and was successfully treated. Four years later in New York, she experienced similar symptoms and called 911. Again, she went to the hospital but emergency room doctors sent her home. "In my case, I had the very classic male symptoms and it still went undiagnosed. So there was really no reason for me to be sent home that day." Three days later Stephanie went to see Dr. Goldberg who insisted she get and Angiogram. It showed a ninety percent blockage in her artery. Stephanie says even with classic symptoms, some doctors need to pay more attention. "It's taken a long time for doctors to catch up and understand that women are as likely to be candidates for heart disease as men are," says Oster. 

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