Information from Theresa M. Brennan, MD:
Women are just as likely to develop heart disease as men. If we look at people who are 55, there will be more men who will have a heart attack, but at 85 women make up the larger population of people who have heart attacks.
Women can have chest discomfort just like men. They commonly, though, have different types of discomfort in locations such as the very lower part of the chest or upper part of abdomen up into the jaw, neck, back or arms. The pain can radiate into the shoulders or arms and occasionally may spread to the back between the shoulder blades. The important thing for women to realize is that any type of discomfort that does not resolve promptly should prompt a woman to seek medical attention and have it evaluated. This is most important for women who have risk factors for heart disease.
The good news is that we can assess these cardiovascular risk factors:
- blood pressure control
- testing for diabetes
We look at all these risk factors and try to modify them to prevent the development or progression of cardiovascular disease.