Reasons why women's cardiovascular disease often goes undiagnosed

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. It claims as many as 333,000 of their lives across the world each year. It kills more women than diabetes, respiratory disease or cancer. A woman is less likely to survive their first heart attack than a man is. Although most doctors know this information, they often diagnose them with something else other than heart disease before settling on it.

One theory about why women often receive a delayed diagnosis of heart disease is because they don't exhibit some telltale signs of the condition that doctors have long been taught to look for in patients.

Many women don't experience pain in their left arm or pressure in their chest as most males with cardiovascular disease might. They may instead experience fatigue or a shortness of breath, become light-headed, feel nauseous or develop reflux emanating from the central portion of their chest. Female patients may even experience jaw pain or simple discomfort throughout their arm.

Female patients who smoke or drink alcohol, are diabetic, have a poor diet or are physically inactive, have sleep apnea, are overweight or who have high blood pressure or cholesterol are all at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Post-menopausal women and those from certain minority groups are as well.

Even women who participate in regular exercise and eat healthy run the risk of developing heart disease. Women are less likely to have the necessary tests performed on them to rule out this condition. If they do, only a small percentage actually get the aggressive treatment that they need to save their lives.

We rely on our doctors to ask the right questions and to perform the right tests necessary to make an adequate diagnosis of our symptoms. If your doctor failed to perform testing necessary to identify and treat your condition, then a Tucson attorney may advise you that you're eligible to receive compensation for any injuries you suffered as a result.

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