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Women and Heart Disease

The cardiologists at the UCI Health Women's Heart Program are experts in identifying the signs of female heart disease. They recognize that men and women often experience the signs of heart disease and heart attacks differently.

We understand these differences. We use the latest technology and testing to examine your heart thoroughly and make a diagnosis. If a problem is found, we work with you to create a plan for treatment that fits your needs.

Heart disease statistics

  • Heart disease is a leading cause of death for U.S. women, accounting for one in four female deaths in 2009.
  • Although heart disease is thought of as a "man's disease," about the same number of U.S. women and men die each year.
  • Despite increased awareness over the last decade, only 54 percent of women recognize that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
  • Almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease displayed no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Why see us?

There are several reasons to see the experts in women's heart health at UCI Health:

  • Accurate diagnosis. The angiograms of 50 percent of women who have an abnormal stress test, chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack will show clear arteries. This often leads doctors to attribute the cause of chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or unusual exhaustion to something other than heart disease. However, in this group of women, about half have a form of heart disease that cannot be diagnosed by an angiogram alone. As a result of the incorrect diagnosis, symptoms don't respond to standard treatments.
  • Increasing prevalence. Studies show that 40 percent to 60 percent of patients with chest pain or other heart disease symptoms have coronary microvascular disease. The condition affects women as well as men.
  • Special testing available. Coronary microvascular disease is difficult to detect and requires sensitive tests. Coronary reactivity testing and the EndoPAT™ are both powerful tools in the detection of this disease.

Who should see us?

Some women are at especially high risk for developing heart disease. You should be evaluated if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Symptoms related to heart disease
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Abnormal stress test, followed by a normal angiogram

Heart disease symptoms

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for heart disease:

  • Chest pain or chest pressure
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the left arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Unusual and unexplained fatigue

If you are concerned about your risk for heart disease, call our team for a consultation at 714-456-6699.

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