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How might gender affect heart attack symptoms?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Failure to Diagnose |

A misdiagnosis can be deadly when it comes to a serious ailment like a heart attack. If someone goes to the hospital to get medical care, they deserve to work with a doctor who is going to do everything in their power to get them the proper type of assistance.

Unfortunately, mistakes do happen. Some studies have found that doctors misdiagnose heart attacks for women far more often than they do for men. This means that women face an elevated risk of medical malpractice. Why does this happen?

A difference in symptoms

There can be a variety of reasons, as each case is unique, but the most common problem is that the symptoms for men and women may be different. Some doctors only look for the symptoms that men present, so they may not think that women are having a heart attack.

For example, women may complain about dizziness, neck pain, heartburn, nausea, jaw pain or arm pain. They may mention feeling fatigued or ill. They could feel lightheaded.

But for men, the main symptom is usually crushing chest pain. Men may also complain about issues like sweating or shortness of breath – which women could also present – but chest pain is the number one sign of a heart attack.

Therefore, if a woman comes in with symptoms that do not include chest pain, the doctor may be more likely to believe that she is having a gastrointestinal disorder or suffering from stress and anxiety. This is what leads to a misdiagnosis when she is actually presenting all of the symptoms of a heart attack.

Have you lost a loved one or suffered harm due to a medical error? Make sure you know what legal steps you can take.