Heart attacks in women are commonly misdiagnosed, a mistake that can prove fatal. There are instances in which women are sent home by their doctors when they really needed emergency care, but the doctors just didn’t think they were having a heart attack.
There are a lot of different reasons for this, but one of the major ones is that women may have different symptoms. For men, the most common symptom is chest pain. And it is true that many women will have chest pain, but they may also have a lot of different symptoms that are more severe than chest pain and that cause them to describe the issue in a different way. Doctors who are only thinking of what male patients would tell them may misconstrue these symptoms as something else.
What are common symptoms of heart attacks in women?
Some of the main symptoms that women often note when having a heart attack include the following:
- Heartburn or indigestion
- A feeling of unusual fatigue
- Profuse sweating for no other reason
- Vomiting or a feeling of nausea
- Pain in the arms, either one arm or both
- Trouble catching their breath or general shortness of breath
- Discomfort in the abdomen or the belly
- Upper body discomfort, such as in the neck, upper back, shoulders or even the jaw
If a doctor hears someone say that they’re having pain in the jaw, their first thought may not be that the person is having a heart attack, but that could certainly be the case. When doctors get it wrong, their patients pay the price, and those patients or their family members need to know exactly what legal options they have.