Are Women Literally Dying Of Embarrassment?

Are Women Literally Dying Of Embarrassment?

‘I absolutely died of embarrassment!’ – a common phrase after a clumsy fall, but are Australian women at an unnecessary risk because they don’t want to be seen as a ‘drama queen’?

A new survey suggests women delay seeking medical treatment because they are embarrassed they might be overreacting.

Pink Hope spoke to 1,002 Australian females about their medical experiences and found that 1 in 3 women may have avoided seeking medical treatment because they were worried they would be seen as a ‘drama queen’ or a hypochondriac.

CEO of Her Heart, Dr Linda Worrall-Carter, says these figures are alarming, but not surprising.

“Women tell me time and time again that they did not want to make a fuss or worry anyone by seeking medical help, especially if nothing turned out to be wrong,” she said.

“But when it comes to heart attacks, this delay or lack of treatment can be fatal.”

Another survey of over 500 heart attack survivors showed women are far less likely to seek medical treatment if they suspect they’re having a heart attack (39% of women compared with 52% of men), but are more likely than men to tell a friend or family member (35% versus 25%).

“This is where friends and family must take women’s concerns seriously, so if a friend or someone you love says to you that they feel unwell, have aches and pains in their jaw, through to their back and are feeling nauseous, short of breath and seem to be sweating then do not delay call 000 on their behalf,” says Dr. Worrall-Carter.

The fear of being deemed ‘over-dramatic’, coupled with women often being unaware of the different symptoms of a heart attack for women, have led to poor survival rates in women.

Nearly 24% of women will die from their heart attack, compared to only 13% of men.

Dr. Worrall-Carter says Her Heart is trying to raise awareness of the lesser known symptoms women may experience, so that women can recognise a heart attack sooner and get to hospital quicker.

“If something doesn’t feel right, women must trust their gut instinct and seek help.

“It might save their life.”

Heart attack symptoms for women can be subtle and are not always easy to diagnose without a blood test and assessment by medical professionals. Over 40% of women won’t experience the typical crushing chest pain, with pain radiating down their arm and are more likely to experience non-chest pain symptoms.

Symptoms of heart attack in women:

  • Unusual pain in your neck, chest, shoulder, jaw
  • Pain radiating through to your back
  • Feeling short of breath, sweaty
  • Racing of your heart or feeling of “fluttering”
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, then you should get immediate medical attention.

Find out more here.