Many women in New Mexico and around the country have high blood pressure but have not been properly diagnosed. When high blood pressure is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. Unfortunately, it is frequently overlooked by physicians when treating female patients.
Why doctors fail to diagnose high blood pressure
Doctors might fail to diagnose women with high blood pressure for several reasons. When women are younger, the presence of estrogen helps to protect their blood vessels through vasodilation. However, this protective effect diminishes as women reach middle age. Some doctors think that women are less likely to suffer from hypertension and heart problems than men. However, when they reach middle age, they are equally likely as men to suffer these types of problems. In old age, women are at a higher risk of suffering heart failure or strokes than men. Some doctors also explain away high blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office as being caused by stress instead of investigating further. Others might explain away some of the symptoms of hypertension as symptoms of menopause.
What women can do
Women can do several things to figure out whether they might have high blood pressure. They should take daily readings at home. If those are elevated, they might help doctors to correctly diagnose high blood pressure. Hypertension may show no symptoms, making it important for women to have it caught early and diagnosed. With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, women might avoid more dangerous cardiac conditions.
People whose high blood pressure was not correctly diagnosed and who subsequently suffered strokes, cardiac failure, or heart attacks may have grounds to file medical malpractice claims. An experienced attorney might be able to review the medical records and determine whether a case has legal merits.