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Diagnosing Heart Attacks In Women

"I thought I had the flu" This is what many women say after having a heart attack.

TV and movies always portray heart attacks as chest pain and left arm tingling followed by an immediate collapse - and usually depict a man. However, heart attack warning signs are very different for women. While it is very possible for women to experience chest pain or pressure, this symptom may not be felt as strongly in women as it is in men. Instead, women are more likely to experience the following:

  • Stomach pain or nausea
  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety-related sweating, commonly referred to as "cold sweats"
  • Extreme fatigue

Unfortunately, Many Doctors Miss The Warning Signs

According to a study reported by the New England Journal of Medicine doctors are misdiagnosing women who are experiencing heart attack symptoms at an astounding rate. In fact, in the study, women under the age of 55 were seven times more likely to have their heart attacks missed or misdiagnosed.

So, what diagnoses were these women receiving?

  • Anxiety
  • Menopause
  • Acid reflux

The result? These women were more than twice as likely to die.

While you may have thought you had the flu, your doctor should have known better. Heart attacks are not a "men's disease," they can strike anyone. If you, or a loved one, had a heart attack that was misdiagnosed, delayed in diagnosis, or missed altogether, you have been the victim of malpractice. Consider talking to an attorney about your legal options.

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