Ischemic Heart Disease
In women, ischemic disease is more likely to be due to microvascular disease, which produces different symptoms from those of coronary artery disease. As a result, ischemic heart disease in women may require different diagnostic tests, such as catheterization pressure/flow studies and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), to identify the source.
Symptoms of IHD
When IHD is caused by coronary artery disease, the most common symptoms are a pressing, squeezing or crushing pain, usually in the chest under the breastbone, but may also occur in the upper back, both arms, neck or earlobes; pain radiating in the arms, shoulders, jaw, neck and/or back; shortness of breath; cold sweat; and nausea. When it is due to microvascular disease, symptoms may be less dramatic and may include diffuse discomfort, exhaustion and depression.
In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, a physician can often diagnose ischemic heart disease by noting the patient’s symptoms and how and when they occur. Certain diagnostic procedures, including electrocardiography, echocardiography and cardiac catheterization with IVUS, may be performed.
If the symptoms are found to be due to an ischemic artery obstruction, they may be treated with procedures to remove the blockage, such as coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty. If they are due to microvascular disease, lifestyle modifications—diet, exercise, smoking cessation—and medications to lower blood pressure, improve lipid profile and reduce inflammation may be prescribed. Since ischemic heart disease is a chronic condition, your heart will be carefully monitored and you will be prescribed medications to control your symptoms.
Nutrition and Prevention
Reference these links for information on how to prevent heart disease and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Lifestyle Changes
- Healthy Diet
- Reduce Stress
- Stop Smoking
- Healthy Cholesterol Levels
- Reduce Sodium
Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011
Send Feedback To: BWH Women’s Health at firstname.lastname@example.org