Women and men share these 2 heart disease symptoms

February, 2016

A large study comparing the experiences of more than 10,000 patients with suspected coronary heart diseases has found that

  • women have more risk factors for heart disease than men but are typically assessed to have lower risk
  • women were older (62.4 vs 59), more likely to be hypertensive (66.6% vs 63.2%), and more likely to have a family history of early heart disease (34.6% vs 29.3%); they were less likely to smoke (45.6% vs 57%)
  • women were more likely to be referred for imaging stress tests compared to men, but were less likely to have a positive test (9.7% vs 15%)
  • chest pain was an equally common symptom (73% of women and 72% of men complained of this when presenting), but men were more likely to characterize their chest pain as a dull ache or a burning sensation, while women most often described it as crushing/pressure/squeezing/tightness.
  • women were more likely than men to have back, neck, or jaw pain, and palpitations as the primary presenting symptoms
  • men were more likely to have fatigue and weakness, although this was still unusual as the primary complaint.


Hemal K, Pagidipati NJ, Coles A, et al. Sex Differences in Demographics, Risk Factors, Presentation, and Noninvasive Testing in Stable Outpatients With Suspected Coronary Artery Disease: Insights From the PROMISE Trial. J Am Coll Cardiol Img. 2016;9(4):337-346. doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2016.02.001.

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