In men, the main symptom of a heart attack is simple: Chest pain. When it sets on severely, they know something is wrong. That pain may run down their arm and they could even have related issues, such as not being able to breathe or passing out, but the main symptom is still chest pain. When a man ends up in the ER with chest pain, the doctor’s first thought is that he’s having a heart attack.
For women, though, the symptoms are often different. They may not have chest pain at all. This can cause doctors to make the wrong diagnosis or miss the heart attack entirely. For instance, symptoms that women often experience include:
- Shortness of breath
- Neck and jaw discomfort
- Upper back pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Arm pain
There is some overlap here, of course, such as arm pain, but you can see how confusing it gets. If a woman comes to the ER and says she is exhausted, that she has indigestion and that she has been vomiting, the doctor may assume she has something like food poisoning or a stomach ulcer. In reality, she may be having a heart attack that needs to be treated right away. Any delay could take a treatable issue and cause it to become fatal.
Unfortunately, many doctors think of chest pain first and don’t consider heart attacks when it is not present. If this leads to a mistake in diagnosis and a delay in treatment and you suffer serious complications or lose a loved one, you need to know what legal options you have.