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Angina as common in women as men

22nd March 2006

Angina is as common in women as in men, according to new research.

The findings from scientists at University College London raise the possibility that doctors may be routinely missing angina symptoms in women.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that two women out of every 100 in the general population develop angina each year, which causes chest pain or discomfort, typically brought on by exercise, cold or emotional stress.

The scientists warn that doctors are not always taking symptoms of angina in women seriously enough, which may result in increased deaths.

UCL's Professor Harry Hemingway said: "For women, angina is a more significant public health problem than many doctors, or indeed the general public, realise.

"We need to understand why women are relatively protected from heart attack but not from angina, and ensure fair access to investigation and treatment services."

The risk of having a heart attack after having experienced angina can be reduced by taking 'secondary prevention' medications such as aspirin and lipid lowering drugs, but there is no cure for the underlying disease process of atherosclerosis, the researchers said.