Why Are Women Often Misdiagnosed When Having a Heart Attack?

The month of February is American Heart Month which aims to raise awareness of the number one killer of men and women in the US, heart disease. Heart health has proven to be even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people diagnosed with heart disease have shown to have a higher chance of developing complications when contracting the virus.

For women, heart disease and heart attacks prove to be more difficult for doctors to diagnose, causing the postponement of treatment. This delay can result in severe injury or even death. Many wonder why women are often diagnosed when having a heart attack. Our attorneys could help you take legal action if a doctor’s negligent misdiagnosis caused you to suffer worse heart problems.

What Causes Heart Disease?

There are certain medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can make a person more susceptible to developing heart disease. These can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Mental Stress
  • Family History of Heart Disease
  • Inflammatory Diseases
  • Obesity
  • Poor Diet
  • Excessive Alcohol Use

For women, other risk factors include menopause and pregnancy complications.

Why are Heart Attacks Harder to Diagnose in Women?

Women usually present different symptoms than men when having a heart attack. Because of this difference women often have their symptoms dismissed or misdiagnosed by healthcare professionals. While most women report having some type of chest pain, it is common for patients to present other symptoms that may appear unrelated such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, and upper back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion

A misdiagnosis of a heart attack can consist of a doctor failing to order tests, misreading lab results, or failing to follow up on lab results. Delaying the treatment of a heart attack can cause catastrophic injuries that can permanently change a person’s life. These severe injuries include permanent damage to organs (i.e. scarring on the heart), brain damage, and in the worst cases, death.

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed with a heart attack do not hesitate to call us. The attorneys at Domnick Cunningham & Whalen are experienced and knowledgeable in medical misdiagnosis cases and are here to advise you through any legal processes. Call to schedule your free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer today!