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If My Doctor Fails to Diagnose My Heart Disease, Is It Malpractice?

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Sixteen years ago this February, the public awareness day for women’s heart health began with the hopes to bring attention to one of the leading causes of death among women: heart disease. To bring awareness, men and women are encouraged to wear something red on the first Friday in February to show their commitment for reducing risk, improving health, and saving women’s lives. However, heart disease is not easy to diagnose for everyone in the same way. In some cases, the risk factors can also point to other conditions and are not seen by doctors as an underlying cause for heart disease until it is almost too late.

Different Risk Factors for Women

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Heart disease is not exclusive to women and is common in men as well. There are several risk factors that both men and women share when it comes to heart disease — high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity — and also several that affect women more than men:

  • Diabetes: Women who have diabetes also may have other health risks such as high blood pressure and poor blood sugar control that complicate diabetes and increase the risks for heart disease.
  • Depression: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to reduce the risks of heart disease. Women who struggle with depression and handle stress poorly often struggle with following a healthy lifestyle.
  • Smoking: Heart disease is not the only disease where smoking can lead to an increased risk for a diagnosis.
  • Inactivity: Being in shape helps keep your heart muscles healthy to pump blood to all the parts of your body. If there is extra stress and weight on your body, it hurts the heart’s ability to function.
  • Menopause: Once a woman goes through menopause, she has lower levels of estrogen in her body. With the decrease in estrogen, heart disease can be found in the smaller blood vessels.
  • Broken Heart Syndrome: Usually because of severe stress, broken heart syndrome causes a temporary heart muscle failure that can later compromise the heart’s function.
  • Chemotherapy or Radiation: Having cancer previously does not mean that you will later have heart disease; however, the intense radiation or chemotherapy that is often used to treat cancer has been shown to be a risk for heart disease.
  • Pregnancy Complications: If there is a concern for high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy, there may also be cause for concern regarding heart disease.

How Neglecting Symptoms May Be Malpractice

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Risk factors alone do not mean that you have heart disease. For doctors to be responsible for medical malpractice, when related to heart disease, it is usually because the health care professionals did not identify or conclude early enough that your symptoms were pointing to heart disease. This can happen because doctors want to “wait and see” if it gets better over time. There is a careful balancing act that doctors are extremely aware of when it comes to diagnosing heart disease, but a misdiagnosis can become fatal for men and women who live with heart disease, as it is typically treatable if caught early enough.

Hire a Muncie Malpractice Attorney

If you find yourself in the place where you are considering a malpractice claim, call the attorneys at Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation. Every case is different yet the attorneys at Hensley Legal Group are available to answer your questions and see what they can do about your case. Call or contact us online today.