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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Coronary Microvascular Disease?

The signs and symptoms of coronary microvascular disease (MVD) often differ from the signs and symptoms of traditional coronary heart disease (CHD).

Many women with coronary MVD have angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh). Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood.

Angina may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.

Angina also is a common symptom of CHD. However, the angina that occurs in coronary MVD may differ from the typical angina that occurs in CHD. In coronary MVD, the chest pain usually lasts longer than 10 minutes, and it can last longer than 30 minutes. Typical angina is more common in women older than 65.

Other signs and symptoms of coronary MVD are shortness of breath, sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), and lack of energy.

Coronary MVD symptoms often are first noticed during routine daily activities (such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, and going to work) and times of mental stress. It's less likely that women will notice these symptoms during physical activity (such as jogging or walking fast).

This differs from CHD, in which symptoms often first appear while a person is being physically active—such as while jogging, walking on a treadmill, or going up stairs.

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Last Updated: November 2, 2011