Some women in Illinois might struggle to get a medical diagnosis compared to men. Women have a 50 percent higher chance of not being diagnosed with heart disease, and this is true even after a heart attack. They are more likely to die in the hospital after a heart attack and are 30 percent more likely to have a stroke misdiagnosed. Pain is more likely to be ignored, and autoimmune diseases, which are far more common in women, may take years to diagnose.
There are a number of reasons for this. For many common diseases, women’s symptoms are different from men. For example, women may experience a heart attack with symptoms such as indigestion and fatigue. Both they and their doctors are more likely to attribute these symptoms to other causes including stress. They are often not recognized because medical studies are traditionally done with men even for diseases that women predominantly have. Race adds another barrier. For example, black women are more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women.
There are several things women may be able to do to get a more accurate diagnosis. They should trust their instincts, ask doctors question and be prepared. They should also keep records and ensure that they do not assume that because of their age, they cannot have conditions such as heart disease.
People who are misdiagnosed may suffer severe consequences. Their health may worsen, and conditions that could have been easily treated if caught early may become more serious. A misdiagnosis could even be fatal. A person who has suffered from a failure to diagnose or whose loved one has may want to consult an attorney about whether it would be appropriate to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In such a lawsuit, a court will consider whether the person received a reasonable standard of care.