CAD can look and act differently in women making it harder to identify and defeat. Help debunk common myths about CAD in women and get to the heart of the matter today.
MYTH 1: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) only affects men.
FACT: Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.1 Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease.
MYTH 2: I’ll know that I have CAD because I’ll have chest pain.
FACT: While chest pain and shortness of breath are typical signs of CAD in men, women often have less obvious symptoms that can be harder to recognize as CAD. A woman with CAD might complain of heartburn, indigestion, nausea with or without vomiting, or tightness or pressure in the throat, jaw, shoulder, abdomen, back, or arm. When it comes to your heart, even symptoms that are often overlooked can be big indicators. Take our symptoms quiz to find out if your symptoms might suggest CAD.
MYTH 3: It’s best to test for CAD as much as possible to avoid a tragedy.
FACT: The benefits of any medical test you receive should outweigh the risks. Most common CAD imaging tests come with potential risks, such as cancer-causing radiation exposure, that you should review and evaluate with your doctor.
MYTH 4: CAD tests are equally accurate in men and women.
FACT: Unfortunately, certain parts of women’s bodies, such as our smaller hearts and breast tissue, can impact the reading accuracy of common CAD imaging tests, leading to higher rates of false-positive (inaccurate) test results.2 Only one sex-specific blood test is designed to account for these cardiovascular differences between men and women.
MYTH 5: If CAD is such a big problem, I would hear my friends and family talking about it.
FACT: Did you know 75% of women rarely or never talk to their family and friends about heart disease?3 Don’t keep what you learn about CAD close to your chest – share it with someone close to your heart. Go Spread the Word!
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- Go Red for Women. Heart Disease and Stroke 2012 Statistical Update. Accessed May 9, 2015. (https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/statistics-at-a-glance/)
- Kwok Y, Kim C, Grady D, et al. Meta-Analysis of Exercise Testing to Detect Coronary Artery Disease in Women. Am J Cardiol 1999;83:660-6.
- Women’s Heart Alliance. Fight the Lady Killer. September 2014. Accessed May 9, 2015. (https://fighttheladykiller.org/app/uploads/Survey-Results-American-Women-Speak-Up-About-Heart-Disease1.pdf?6d40e2)