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Study suggests doctors can misdiagnose heart disease as anxiety

Often, two different illnesses have many similar symptoms. It is up to the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis, based on tests, examining the patient and the doctor’s knowledge and experience.

It is not always possible to make the right diagnosis the first time, but doctors owe their patients a duty to use reasonable care and attention to avoid negligent errors. This includes knowing when what appears to be one disease could in fact be another, and to do what is necessary to rule out confusion.

A new study suggests that women with an anxiety disorder may be a heightened risk of having heart disease go undiagnosed. According to the study, discussed in U.S. News and World Report, women with anxiety tended to experience reduced blood flow to the heart during exercise than women without an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder include chest discomfort and heart palpitations. These are also symptoms of heart disease, which could lead to a doctor falsely concluding that a patient’s heart is fine and her symptoms are due to her anxiety, the study concludes. It is not clear why this misdiagnosis is not as likely for men, but researchers believe more women have anxiety disorders than men. Also, women tend to experience different heath disease symptoms than men.

While patients and their can be active advocates for their care, most of us must rely on the doctor’s expertise and commitment to their patients’ well-being. When a doctor falls below standards of care, the patient can suffer greatly, and even die as a result. Consultation service from the Maloney Team is free. Contact us today to get started.

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