Persistent chest pain, shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue. Fully 83 percent of men with these symptoms have deposits of plaque in their major arteries, a condition called arteriosclerosis that's easily picked up by an angiogram.
But in 50 percent of women who report such symptoms, their majorarteries appear healthy, according to a landmark 2006 study. That's because women tend to develop deposits of plaque diffusely in the smaller arteries near the heart, says Dr. Jennifer Mieres -- an equally dangerous condition known as microvascular disease, which is treatable with medication.
If you're experiencing heart symptoms but your angiogram comes back normal, ask your doctor about having an exercise stress test (see the section below for more on that) or an MRI, both of which are better at detecting this problem.
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