Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center and Medical Director of the Section of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
Specialties: cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine, interventional cardiology, peripheral vascular disease
Hello, I’m Dr. Leslie Cho, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Cardiovascular Center. Today I’d like to talk about microvessel disease, a type of cardiovascular disease that affects women.
Microvessels are tiny blood vessels in the heart that can’t be seen with the naked eye. In microvessel disease, these vessels constrict (or narrow) when they should dilate (or widen). This starves the heart muscle of oxygen and causes chest pain – which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that limits activity and negatively impacts quality of life.
More women than men are affected by microvessel disease. Men are more likely to develop macrovessel disease, or blockages in larger blood vessels.
Diagnosing microvessel disease can be difficult.
Microvessel disease is simply one, of many, ways that cardiovascular disease differs in men and women. While this disease is under diagnosed and under treated, help is available. Experts at Cleveland Clinic Women’s Cardiovascular Center understand and look for the signs of microvessel disease and are able to help women with the latest in treatment options.
Because these blood vessels in microvessel disease are so small, stents are not an option. But there are many good medications that can help ease your pain. Aspirin, platelet inhibitors, cholesterol lowering drugs are options that commonly provide relief. We also help women keep their weight and diabetes under control, which also improves their symptoms.
Together, these therapies and lifestyle changes provide very effective relief. That means our patients can find the relief they need to get back to leading a normal life. For further questions about this, please contact us at the Women’s Cardiovascular Center. Thank you.
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A portion of this FAQ video is supported by the Alpha Phi 2005 Cardiac Care Award.