It’s that time again, when navel-gazing pundits everywhere compile their Best Of or Top 10 lists of movies, political stories, books or bloopers for the year that’s just about to slip away. Same here at Heart Sisters! So let’s take a nostalgic look backwards today at what I like to describe as this “cardiac rehab for my brain” – and why over 1 million visitors from 190 countries have viewed this site since I launched it in 2009!
First, I wish a very Happy New Year to my readers, especially to:
- those of you who choose to share what you like here with your colleagues, families or your health care professionals
- my loyal Twitter followers and blog subscribers (you can become one too by clicking on Sign Me Up! under Follow Heart Sisters on the right hand side bar here – you’ll get free email notifications of each new post)
- those who have generously shared your heartfelt, inspiring and sometimes very entertaining personal comments here – I love hearing from you! Thank you all.
- all women living with heart disease: you are not alone!
Now back to our Top 10 list of the most widely-read Heart Sisters posts of 2013, but first this observation: three on the list of 10 have less to do with the heart this year, and far more to do with what it’s like to live with any chronic and progressive illness:
1. How Does it Really Feel to Have a Heart Attack? Women Survivors Tell Their Stories (topping the list once again this year, this 2009 post in which I quote dozens of heart attack survivors attracted over three times more daily readers on average than the second most-popular post)
2. How Women Can Tell if They’re Headed for a Heart Attack (this was #9 on last year’s Top 10 list; a whopping 95% of us actually suspected that something was very wrong in the months leading up to our heart attacks; this post lists these early warning “prodromal symptoms” as well as urgent signs that a heart attack might be imminent)
3. Heart Disease: Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Rates? (a consistently popular topic from July 2010 – in second place on the Top 10 list for the past two years)
4. Why Does Your Arm Hurt During a Heart Attack? (this July post starts with an incomprehensible response of gobbledygook from a physician to a patient’s question, and ends with my translation)
5. How Soon Are Heart Patients Safely Fit to Fly? (is it just my imagination or are more of you planning flights this year? This 2010 article was #8 on last year’s Top 10 list)
6. ‘Healthy Privilege’: When You Just Can’t Imagine Being Sick (in which I explored the concept of ‘Healthy Privilege’ after reading Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte‘s brilliant explanation last spring. It helps you understand those who just don’t “get it”)
7. When Are Cardiologists Going to Start Talking About Depression? (perhaps one of my most important posts, revisiting an under-diagnosed debilitating side effect that affects up to 65% of heart attack survivors)
8. When Your Artery Tears – Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (once called a rare condition, this diagnosis is now considered just rarely correctly diagnosed – mostly among young, otherwise healthy women with few if any cardiac risk factors)
9. A Cardiologist’s Advice on How to Use this “Wonder Drug” (if you carry nitroglycerin for chest pain as many heart patients do, you must read the common-sensical words of iconic cardiologist Dr. Bernard Lown)
10. Why the Harvard Business Review Was Wrong About Patients (this year’s January post attracted a flurry of tweets and retweets from those who don’t like the word ‘consumer’)
Although they didn’t individually make the Top 10 list this year, my 3-part series about online patient support groups in September was so close:
- Discover. Join. Leave. The Life Cycle of Online Patient Groups
- Online Patient Groups: Why So Under-Used?
- What Really Goes On in your Friendly Online Patient Group?
Most of my web visitors found Heart Sisters in 2013 by typing some words into a search engine – Google was #1 by a long shot – 20 times more often than second place Bing, for example. Twitter edged out Facebook this past year in sending visitors my way.* And Pinterest made the top referrers list for the second year in a row.
Six times more Americans visited in 2013 compared to second place Canada, which was neck and neck with visitors from the U.K., followed by Australia, India and Ireland.
Thousands of you have shared posts you like here with others, including 1,600 people who now follow Heart Sisters on Twitter each day, and over 800 who subscribe via email to receive a free update on each newly published article (you can do this, too, by clicking on the upper right sidebar’s Follow Heart Sisters “sign me up!” button).
This blog was viewed about 390,000 times in 2013. My WordPress helper monkeys tell me that if Heart Sisters were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris, it would take about 17 days for that many people to see it!
In 2013, there were 72 new posts published here, growing the total archive to 520 posts.
The busiest day of the year was April 29th with 2,520 visits. The most popular post that day was How Women Can Tell If They’re Headed for a Heart Attack.
A number of Heart Sisters articles have been picked up and republished as guest posts this past year by other much larger health websites. For example:
- Physican Burnout: Don’t Blame the Patient
- “We Are All Patients.” No, You’re Not.
- Medical Jargon: Do You Need a Translator?
- Looking for Meaning in a Meaningless Diagnosis
- Patient Engagement? How About Doctor Engagement?
- “Healthy Privilege: When You Just Can’t Imagine Being Sick
Heart Sisters was in the news in 2013, too. Media coverage included:
- Two-Thirds of Americans Now Track Key Health Indicators – Everyday Health, January 28, 2013
- Carolyn Thomas: Heart Health Month – CBC Radio “North By Northwest” interview starts at 34:30, February 17, 2013
- What Women Need To Know About Heart Attacks – Huffington Post, September 12, 2013
I am unapologetically sappy over the ongoing interest both in my sold-out public presentations and in my Heart Sisters articles on the important subject of women and heart disease – our #1 killer.
Thank you once again, and Happy 2014 to you.