Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hidden Heart Disease in Women

A recently published study found that, "In as many as 3 million U.S. women with coronary heart disease, cholesterol plaque may not build up into major blockages, but instead spreads evenly throughout the artery wall. As a result, diagnostic coronary angiography reveals that these women have “clear” arteries—no blockages—incorrectly indicating low risk. Despite this, many of these women have a high risk for heart attack," according to a National Institutes of Health press release. More on this from the New York Times and All Things Considered. These two stories do a good job of explaining how heart attack symptoms may differ in women and men, and how the expected angiogram view is good at diagnosing this kind of heart disease in men, but not in women. Note: I have not been able to read and evaluate the full study yet, because it was issued very recently as a supplement, and the supplier of my online access has not yet caught up. Ahem.

On a related note, national heart health organizations encourage you to wear red this Friday in support of women's heart disease awareness. Of course, you're also encouraged to donate money to organizations funding women's health/heart disease research and education.

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