The public — and sometimes even doctors — have the misconception that heart attacks don’t happen to women, and that they’re a male health condition. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for women to suffer from heart attacks that go unnoticed. Or, if a woman is having a heart attack, the doctor could fail to diagnose it or the woman could fail to get immediate medical attention.
Part of the reason why female heart attacks go undiagnosed is that their symptoms are often different from the symptoms associated with male heart attacks.
What are the symptoms of female heart attacks?
Here are a few symptoms women should watch out for in terms of cardiac arrest and heart attack:
- Squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. This could be a feeling of uncomfortable pressure that lasts for longer than several minutes. It could go away and then return.
- Discomfort in the arms, neck, back, jaw and stomach.
- Feeling short of breath without having any chest discomfort.
- Feeling lightheaded, having a cold sweat and feeling nauseous.
Women who develop any of the above symptoms should call their doctor, go to the hospital or call 911 immediately. These emergency symptoms need to be checked out and investigated by a medical professional to avoid the risk of further complications.
Heart attacks are not always dramatic like on television
We all have the image in our minds of a scene from television or movies, when an older man clutches his chest in extreme pain and collapses to the floor. However, heart attacks are often not so dramatic, and the main character can just as easily be female.
In fact, especially with women, heart attacks may not be accompanied by extreme chest pain and the symptoms could be much more subtle. Some women simply think that they have the flu. Nevertheless, subtle heart attack symptoms can be just as deadly as extremely painful and disabling symptoms. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States.
Did your doctor fail to diagnose your heart attack?
Failure to diagnose heart attack symptoms can lead to serious and disabling health complications and even death. If you suffered a serious health complication — or if your loved one died — because a doctor failed to diagnose female heart attack symptoms, you may want to investigate deeper into the circumstances of your case. If a doctor was negligent or reckless when treating the heart attack victim, the doctor might be financially liable for damage.