Women generally have same heart disease symptoms as men

Contrary to popular belief, women generally experience the same coronary artery disease (CAD, or cardiovascular disease) symptoms — including chest pain, pressure, and/or tightness — as men, Catherine Kreatsoulas, research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), said in an interview with MedPage Today on April 8, 2013.

Overall the symptoms described by a group of men and women largely overlapped, Kreatsoulas and her colleagues reported in a research letter published online April 8, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The three terms used most by both the men and women to describe obstructive coronary artery disease (angina) were: chest pain (82% of men; 84% of women); pressure (54% and 58% respectively), and tightness (43% and 58% respectively).

“In the past, the terminology of typical and atypical angina has been a source of controversy in understanding coronary artery disease in women, and we really hope that this research and our findings show that men and women have an enormous overlap of symptoms,” said Kreatsoulas, a Fulbright Scholar and a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Fellow.

View the MedPage Today article and video

Learn more

Angina pain is similar in men and women, though descriptions may differ (Harvard Health Letter)

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences