So regards to heart disease there can be some basic difference between men and women. First of all, like a lot of times in life the classic symptoms are in common. In men we classically describe he symptoms of heart disease as squeezing or burning substernal or below the chest pain. Women may have their symptoms show up a little differently. Oftentimes its a vague sense of discomfort in the chest when they exert themselves. Sometimes the symptoms can be sharp. They're not always exertional and may often be associated with shortness of breath as oppose to frank chest discomfort.
The way heart disease develops in women may also be different. Heart disease often comes on later in life after menopause and can show up with more diffuse blocked arteries as opposed to one single artery that has a major blockage. It is also very important for women to get screen for heart disease. We know now, heart disease in women has been under recognized and now we realize that just like for men its' a major concern.
Luckily screening is easy. You see your doctor and he or she will do some basic test to help screen you. It is also important for women to control the major risk factors for heart disease. That would be high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and smoking. We used to think that certain hormones would help protect women against heart disease, like estrogen. We now know that this is not entirely the case and women can develop heart disease even before menopause occurs. So it is very important that like in men we recognize the signs and symptoms of heart disease in women and treat them aggressively.