Yasmin Vossoughian had a “nightmare” January.
After experiencing chest pain for nearly two weeks, Vossoughian, a weekend MSNBC news anchor, was rushed to the hospital on New Years Eve and diagnosed with pericarditis, a condition in which causes thin tissue surrounding the heart to become inflamed. Causes of pericarditis are hard to determine, but include inflammation disorders and, as in Vossoughian’s case, infections like the cold.
Vossoughian said she spent January in and out of hospitals. The journalist needed to get fluid around her heart drained, and was later diagnosed with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.
But Vossoughian could have been diagnosed one day earlier, when she initially sought medical attention at an urgent care on December 30. On that day, the doctor misdiagnosed Vossoughian with acid reflux.
In an interview with Insider, Vossoughian said though she was “frustrated” at her misdiagnosis, she blamed herself for not choosing to go to the hospital right away. The 44-year-old journalist said she knew she should have gotten her heart checked in urgent care, but a part of her did not want to believe she was having heart problems.
“A part of me wanted that diagnosis because I didn’t wanna be told it was something with my heart. Because that’s scary,” Vossoughian said.
With her misdiagnosis, Vossoughian joined the many American women who are more likely than men to have their pain dismissed by a physician — particularly when it comes to heart problems. Women tend to wait longer for heart disease diagnosis, The New York Times reported, and one study suggested that younger women were twice as likely as young men to receive a mental health diagnosis from a medical professional when their symptoms pointed more to heart disease.
Vossoughian, who broadcasted her misdiagnosis and health journey during a ten minute segment on the January 28 episode of her show, said she is sharing her story to encourage women to prioritize their health and listen to their bodies if something does not seem right.
“A lot of times as women specifically, we don’t trust our gut, we don’t trust our instincts because we’re pleasers, society tells us to be pleasers,” Vossoughian told Insider. “My advice is listen to your gut.”
Vossoughian tells career women to ‘pump the brakes’ and prioritize their physical needs
On the MSNBC segment, Vossoughian said she ran seven miles multiple times a week, didn’t eat meat or smoke, and did yoga. “Aside from not getting enough sleep and working too much I’m a pretty healthy person.”
But following her month-long health scare, Vossoughian said she acknowledged she pushed too hard at work, at times at the expense of her physical health. Prior to feeling chest pains, Vossoughian said she felt exhausted and feverish, but carried on in the hopes it would go away.
Vossoughian said she might have chosen not to listen to her body because of societal pressure for career women to “do everything and anything, because we can do it all and have it all.”
But the journalist said does not want to go back to her old mindset of putting her physical health to the side. Even now, Vossoughian said she feels tempted to “hop on a plane” to chase news stories, and has to remind herself to “pump the brakes a little bit.”
“Everything’s going to be there and you’ve got to take care of yourself,” Vossoughian tells women who might feel the same pressure after experiencing a health problem. “You have to not let kind of all of those insecure feelings back in.”