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Coronary Artery Disease in Women

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?

CAD, or heart disease, occurs when arteries that supply blood to your heart become narrow or blocked. CAD is caused by plaque (cholesterol, fat, and other substances) that builds up in your arteries. Oxygen cannot get to your heart when your arteries narrow or become blocked, which may be life-threatening.

Blocked Coronary Artery

What increases my risk for CAD?

What are the signs and symptoms of CAD in women?

You may not have any symptoms at first. Symptoms may begin slowly but increase quickly as plaque builds up in your arteries. You may not notice symptoms until the artery starts to become blocked. Women often do not have the common signs and symptoms that men tend to have. You may have any of the following:

How is CAD diagnosed in women?

You may need any of the following:

Which medicines are used to treat CAD?

What are some other treatments for CAD?

Your healthcare provider will work with you to create a treatment plan. In addition to medicines, your provider may recommend a procedure or surgery to open your arteries. Your provider can explain the benefits and risks of each treatment. The following are commonly used to treat CAD:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you attend cardiac rehabilitation (rehab). This is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and prevent more heart disease. The plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Healthcare providers will also check to make sure any medicines you take are working. The plan may also include instructions for when you can drive, return to work, and do other normal daily activities.

What can I do to manage or prevent CAD?

Prevent Heart Disease

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.