Many women in New Mexico are worried about the possibility of breast cancer or cervical cancer, but what they may not be aware of is that heart disease is, in fact, the leading cause of death among women. Stroke is the fourth leading cause. Incidentally, women run a higher risk of being misdiagnosed for both of these conditions than men do.

One reason for this is medical bias. Women are first of all underrepresented in studies, especially those concerning cardiovascular health. Doctors may hold an implicit bias, too, saying that women who think they are suffering from a heart attack are really suffering an anxiety attack. Women have been affected by these attitudes, too, and hesitating to go to the doctor for fear of having their symptoms dismissed.

Another reason for misdiagnosis is that women tend to have different symptoms when suffering a heart attack or stroke. In a study from the American Heart Association found, 62% of female heart attack victims experienced over three non-chest-related symptoms whereas the percentage was 54.8% for men. These symptoms include stomach pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Headaches and dizziness are also more frequently experienced by female stroke victims than male. To make matters worse, women may ignore these symptoms and concentrate on ones that are perceived as more threatening.

As the information above suggests, then, not all misdiagnoses are entirely the fault of doctors. Yet when errors are clearly the result of doctor errors, they can form the basis for a claim. Such claims can end in a significant amount in damages, but in most cases, the other side will fight hard to deny payment. Victims, then, may want to hire a lawyer before moving forward with anything. The lawyer may hire medical experts and other third parties to assist.