When you consider the symptoms of a heart attack, what is the first thing you think of? Odds are good that you think of chest pain. This is one of the most common symptoms, and it’s what a lot of people – and doctors – are looking for.
But this focus can cause problems. Men do report chest pain frequently, but some studies have found that women who have heart attacks will report other symptoms first. These may not be quite as obvious. This can lead to a misdiagnosis where the doctor believes that the woman has another condition, which could cause significant or even fatal harm.
What symptoms do women have?
Every case is unique, but doctors say that women report symptoms like:
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Nausea and feeling like they need to vomit
- Dizziness or general lightheadedness
- Neck pain or jaw pain
- Pain in the back or in the arm
When men have heart attacks, they may complain about severe, crushing chest pain. This makes it seem like a very serious situation that needs to be taken care of immediately. But when women say they feel dizzy and have neck pain, doctors may think that they’re dealing with another issue. Women are sometimes told that they’re just experiencing stress, heartburn or general anxiety.
But if a woman is sent home without proper treatment, she could pass away from a heart attack when she could have been saved if the doctor had understood what was happening. If necessary, family members need to know what legal options they may have to start a medical malpractice lawsuit.