Heart Attack Symptoms in Women are More Likely to be Misdiagnosed
Due to their biological differences, there are many ways men and women can have different experiences when facing the same medical conditions. One of these conditions is a heart attack. The symptoms traditionally associated with a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, pain in the abdomen that feels like heartburn, and a feeling of heavy weight on the chest, often referred to as “elephant on the chest,” are actually the symptoms of heart attack that men experience. Women often experience other symptoms, such as jaw and neck pain, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Because these symptoms can be associated with so many different conditions, female heart attack victims often overlook them or assume they are connected to another condition, putting themselves at risk of suffering severe complications from the heart attack. Even when a woman does seek appropriate medical treatment after experiencing these symptoms, healthcare providers can misdiagnose the symptoms or fail to send the patient for further diagnostic testing. Failure on the healthcare provider's part to diagnose or treat a patient's condition is a form of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can have serious consequences for the patient, including a worsened condition and death.Symptoms of Heart Attacks in Women
A woman can experience any or all of the following symptoms during a heart attack:
- Pain in the arms, back, neck, or jaw;
- Chest pain or discomfort that can occur anywhere in the chest and feel like a squeezing sensation;
- Stomach pain;
- Shortness of breath;
- Nausea; and
- Sweating that is more similar to stress sweating than to sweating after exercising or being outside on a hot day.
It is also important to recognize your personal risk factors for heart attacks. Obesity, smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol all make an individual woman more susceptible to heart attacks. If your family has a history of heart disease, you are at an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack. By knowing your risk factors, you can better determine if you are experiencing heart attack symptoms and when to seek medical care.Misdiagnosis as a Form of Medical Malpractice
A doctor's job is to accurately diagnose a patient's condition and treat it in the most effective manner possible. When a doctor misses symptoms of a heart attack, the patient can suffer by receiving inappropriate treatment or no treatment at all.
Heart attack symptoms are not the only medical area where men and women differ. Men and women often experience different results of treatments or side effects of medications. One prevailing issue in the medical world is the lack of clinical testing done on female patients, which has resulted in many women simply receiving treatments that are found to be effective in male patients. If you feel your symptoms were not taken seriously, if they were assumed to be due to a condition other than the one from which you actually suffered, or if you feel you were subjected to an inappropriate treatment for your condition, you could be a victim of medical malpractice. If you suffered financial damages as a result of the malpractice, you could be entitled to receive compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim.Work with an Experienced San Jose Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Although nearly all doctors, nurses, and individuals are familiar with the heart attack symptoms men experience, much fewer are familiar with the symptoms of heart attacks in women. This can cause female heart attack victims to go without the medical intervention they need, putting them at risk of severe complications and death. If you are a woman who has suffered because of the misdiagnosis of your heart attack symptoms or you have lost your female partner to this type of negligence, consider working with an experienced San Jose medical malpractice lawyer to pursue compensation for your damages through a misdiagnosis or wrongful death claim. Contact Corsiglia, McMahon, & Allard, LLP today to set up your initial consultation with a member of our team. We work with clients from the Bay Area, San Mateo County, Alameda County, San Benito County, Monterey County, and Santa Clara County.