Although cardiac problems in women typically occur in the 10 years after menopause, they can occur in younger women as well. Studies done in the last two years suggest that microvascular angina, while not very common, occurs more frequently in women than in men and can increase the risk of heart attack.
McLaughlin also pointed out that the condition, which may have been underdiagnosed in the past, is more apparent because of modern diagnostic techniques such as PET scans.
"[Women] should take chest pain seriously and get an evaluation from a physician," McLaughlin said.
In the face of her diagnosis, Braxton seems resolved to persist in the competition.
"My goal in this competition is very personal," Braxton said Tuesday night in an interview on "Dancing With the Stars," which is broadcast by ABC. "I want to prove that I have the heart to go out there on a dance floor and just do my thing."