American Heart Month Helps Prevent Medical Misdiagnosis
February is designated as American Heart Month, with numerous nonprofits and governmental agencies calling attention to the high rates of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke in the United States. Among the leading killers of both men and women, these conditions are also some of the most common to suffer from medical misdiagnosis. In honor of American Heart Month, we have assembled the following information about heart disease, its symptoms, and tests your doctor can run to help detect and treat your condition before a heart attack or stroke occurs.
The Facts About Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is a silent killer that claims as many as 17 million lives throughout the world each year. February was officially designated as National Heart Month in 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and at the time heart disease was responsible for nearly half of all deaths each year. It now is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the number of those affected is expected to rise to more than 23 million by 2030. Statistics about heart disease in the U.S. that may surprise you include the following:
- On average, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds
- Stroke accounts for one out of every 20 deaths
- More than 65 percent of all adults have at least two of the criteria indicating heart disease
- While women are just as likely to have heart disease as their male counterparts, they are more likely to die as the result of misdiagnosis
Unfortunately, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in both men and women, despite efforts to raise awareness as to the symptoms. A report in Everyday Health cites studies showing that doctors misinterpret the early signs of stroke in thousands of patients each year, while symptoms of heart attacks, particularly in women, often go untreated.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Catching heart disease early is the key to preventing heart attacks and strokes. The Mayo Clinic advises that any of the following could indicate a potentially serious issue, and should be reported to your doctor at once:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Cold or numbness in your legs and arms
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or upper back
- Fluttering or racing heart beat
- Getting tired or fatigued easily
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting
In addition to having your cholesterol levels checked regularly, your doctor may be able to detect heart disease through monitoring, chest x-rays, and tests such as Electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart catheterization.
Have Your or a Loved One Been Misdiagnosed?
If you or someone you love has suffered a heart attack or stroke that was misdiagnosed, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we provide the caring, compassionate legal service you need, while assisting you in getting the compensation you are entitled to.