Heart Disease Attacks Women Silently Too

Although cancer recently dethroned heart disease as the leading killer of Americans, the latter still remains a terrible and silent problem, especially among women.

Among the 12 million American women who may have heart disease, as many as 25 percent of them may not know it because the clogged arteries that could be the problem may be smaller than ones detected in standardized tests, including a misleading angiogram, according to a new study.

That smaller group of women may have coronary microvascular syndrome, a condition in which plaque coats very small arteries evenly instead of forming more obvious obstructions in larger ones. This syndrome also signals problems with the lining of the artery's inner wall, preventing blood vessels from dilating the way they're supposed to in response to stress, researchers said.

Why the mystery? The lead scientist on the project summed it up well: It appears to be primarily a woman's problem, (only 20 percent of men are afflicted with microvascular syndrome) which is probably why we've missed it all these years... we didn't bother to study women.

Another sad reminder, the sorry state of conventional health care isn't equipped to treat patients as anything more than symptoms looking for prescribed "cures." Some natural and safe ways to prevent heart disease from harming you:

MSNBC January 31, 2006

USA Today February 1, 2006

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol. 47, February 2006: 4-20

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