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What Are the Symptoms of Angina in Women?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Angina in women may manifest in ways that are very similar to the types of symptoms men have, which may include chest pain, tightness, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of angina in women may differ in intensity and may be more varied. For example, many women may describe their angina pain as more diffuse and less localized in the area of the heart. Women may also describe the pain less as a vise squeeze and more as tenderness or burning. Some women may also experience nausea or sweating when experiencing angina, which may accompany abdominal pain.

For many people, angina can be a sign of heart disease. In some cases, symptoms of angina can easily be confused with those of other conditions including heartburn, gastrointestinal reflux, or hiatal hernia. Unfortunately, some women may not recognize angina symptoms unless they suffer severe chest pain. Some doctors, however, believe that angina in women won't always be experienced in the same way as angina in men. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the angina symptoms typically experienced by women may be considered atypical for men and thus overlooked by health care professionals.

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In some cases, a woman may experience angina pain as an ache in the jaw, back, or arm rather than as chest pain. She may also experience a stomachache and nausea, which may lead her to believe that she has the flu or some type of digestive distress. Back and arm pain may also be mistaken for simple aches and pains or be regarded as symptoms of a chronic back problem. A woman may also experience fatigue or lightheadedness. Again, all of these symptoms often accompany less serious medical conditions that may give a woman a false sense of security regarding her health.

Many doctors are now becoming more aware of the symptoms of angina in women and may be able to better prepare and advise female patients about possible angina symptoms and what types of pain and discomfort are not normal. Women should be aware that if they experience pain of any type in the abdomen, chest, or back that lasts for several minutes, particularly if it regularly occurs after a meal or strenuous activity, they may be experiencing angina and should seek medical attention right away. Women should also bring up concerns about regularly occurring pain of any type with their doctor, who may be able to assess whether a woman is experiencing angina and needs further treatment or medication.

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