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Heart disease may be misdiagnosed as anxiety

Connecticut women who suffer from anxiety may have similar symptoms to women with heart disease. In some cases, the two may be related, and doctors may miss a diagnosis of heart disease when anxiety is present. They may also attribute symptoms of heart disease to anxiety.

A study that was published online on Feb. 23 found that women with anxiety may have less blood traveling to the heart during exercise. The study used a stress test followed by a psychiatric interview. Women with anxiety were more likely than those without to suffer from the condition while in men there did not seem to be a connection. Overall, women are more likely to suffer from anxiety than men.

Heart disease and anxiety sometimes have similar symptoms. These may include fatigue, palpitations, chest discomfort and shortness of breath. A woman who does not have a history that suggests heart disease may simply be diagnosed with anxiety.

However, roughly the same number of women as men die of heart disease annually in the United States. Women often have different symptoms during a heart attack such as pain in the throat or back. Researchers say that physicians need to do objective tests to rule out heart disease in women who have symptoms of anxiety that overlap with heart disease.

If detected, heart disease can be treated and a worsened condition may be prevented. This is one reason that a diagnosis is so important, and it is true for other conditions and diseases as well. Early detection can mean a much better prognosis. Medical staff that fails to make a diagnosis or misdiagnoses a serious condition might be deemed negligent, and a person who has been harmed by a misdiagnosis may want to discuss the situation with an attorney.

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