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Why do doctors often fail to diagnose women’s cardiovascular disease?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Heart disease beats out cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes to make it at the top of the list as the leading killer of women. It claims an estimated 333,000 women’s lives each year. Men are far more likely to survive a heart attack than their female counterparts.

Why? Many medical analysts believe that this happens because doctors often misdiagnose female patients as having a different condition instead of heart disease. 

Which women are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease?

Any female adult who drinks alcohol, smokes or is post-menopausal, mostly sedentary or overweight has a high risk for developing heart disease. Women belonging to specific minority groups or who have comorbid conditions such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, or sleep apnea also have a high likelihood of developing heart disease. 

Women who eat right and regular exercise can significantly minimize their chances of developing this deadly disease. 

Why does heart disease in women often get overlooked?

One of the primary reasons medical analysts suspect that women’s cardiovascular disease often goes undiagnosed is that they often don’t present with textbook symptoms similar to their male counterparts. That’s largely because the textbooks were based on studies on men, not women.

Men suffering from heart disease may experience an increase in chest pressure or discomfort along their left arm. Women often experience different symptoms, including lightheadedness, arm discomfort, jaw pain, acid reflux, shortness of breath or nausea. 

Doctors should perform tests to ensure that a female patient isn’t suffering from cardiovascular disease — yet they often don’t. They generally fail to ask the right questions necessary to order the proper tests, resulting in a delayed diagnosis. These factors often result in very few women getting timely, essential care.

If a doctor’s failure to recognize the signs of heart disease or a heart attack led to a negative outcome for you or your loved one, it may be time to speak with an experienced attorney. A medical malpractice claim can help you hold a negligent medical provider accountable.