Heart disease may accompany anxiety in women

Arizona women who suffer from anxiety might also have heart disease, and in some cases doctors fail to detect it. The two conditions may be linked in some women. Women with anxiety are more likely to also suffer from ischemia, a condition in which there is a reduced blood flow to the heart and therefore less oxygen going to the heart. In a study published Feb. 23 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes,no similar effect was found in men. Women are also more likely than men to suffer from anxiety disorders.

While anxiety might actually increase the chance of a woman having heart disease, a doctor may also mistake symptoms of heart disease for anxiety in women who do not fit the typical profile. Both heart disease and anxiety symptoms may include shortness of breath, fatigue and palpitations.

American women die from heart attacks in roughly the same numbers that men do. About 25 percent of female deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to heart attacks, and it is the leading cause of death among American women. However, women’s heart attacks often have different symptoms from men. These might included pain in the jaw, back, abdomen or throat, and the pain might be burning or sharp. Researchers say that women with anxiety should be more insistent that doctors check on the health of their hearts as well.

If a doctor fails to recognize that a women has heart disease or is having a heart attack, the results could be catastrophic. The woman might suffer considerably more damage to her heart, or she might die. Identifying and treating heart disease as early as possible is critical, and a patient or the family of a patient whose physician has failed to diagnose it may want to discuss the situation with an attorney.