How Is Cardiovascular Disease Different in Men and Women?

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Men and women have differences with their hearts, women's arteries are smaller than men's, and the way that actually coronary artery disease forms in the arteries are different. Women tend to get atherosclerosis or plaque in the arteries throughout the vessel, and men tend to get it in one discreet area, this makes it more difficult to diagnose in women.

Symptoms are also more subtle and instead of having that clashing chest pain that we always think of as being heart disease, women can have other symptoms, shortness of breath, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, jaw pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, so the symptoms aren't often as clear. It is very challenging for not only a patient to know if she is having symptoms of heart disease, sometimes it's also difficult for the doctor to know as well.