Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and stress, are a risk factor for the development as well as aggravation of ischaemic heart diseases (IHD). Although women report more psychological symptoms than men, research into gender differences regarding cardiac risk of psychological symptoms is limited. Cardiology studies focus predominantly on the classic pattern of obstructive coronary artery disease, which is three times more prevalent in men than in women. Women more often have variant types of IHD, such as myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries, spontaneous coronary artery dissection, ischaemia with non-obstructive coronary arteries, coronary spasm, and microvascular angina. It is precisely for these variants of IHD that evidence is increasing that psychological symptoms play an important role. For patients and their caregivers, it is useful to know that gloomy and anxious feelings are more common in patients with IHD, including non-traditional types of IHD, and that these symptoms are treatable.
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