Heart Disease In Women Can Go Undetected - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/1/06-Tyler

Heart Disease In Women Can Go Undetected

Getting an extra test at the doctor's office could save your life. Millions of women with heart disease don't even know it. The reason heart disease is going undetected in so many women is because it's harder to find. The standard test can miss blockages in the heart, especially in women.

On Tuesday, researchers said women have hard to spot build-up in smaller blood vessels. We spoke with a local cardiologist about this problem and one East Texas woman who is being proactive with her health.

"I had chest pain and really fatigue and extreme tiredness," says Carolyn Rawlings. She did not know being tired could be related to her heart.

"My primary care physician is pro active and said this is something that is greatly over looked in women especially," says Carolyn.

Her primary doctor referred her to cardiologist Dr. Scott Wright of Tyler for further testing. He says you need to have more than the standard test, cardio catheterization or angiogram. It only looks at the larger arteries on top of the heart, not the smaller ones.

"Arteries get smaller and smaller going into the heart muscle and a lot of times blockages can occur in these very small segments. We call microvascular disease and those we can not see," says Dr. Wright.

A more specialized test, like a cardiolight stress test, can detect blocked arteries. "The stress test can show areas of the heart muscle that are not getting enough blood, which would be suggest microvascular disease. If you have symptoms that are suggestive of heart disease with an abnormal stress test," says Dr. Wright.

This simple test can give patients like Carolyn, peace of mind and save lives.

Researchers say the symptoms of hidden heart disease include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or pain in their shoulders, jaw and neck.

Karolyn Davis, reporting. kdavis@kltv.com

 

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