A year in review: Top 10 Heart Sisters posts in 2014

28 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas @HeartSisters

2014It’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 2014, at what I like to describe as “cardiac rehab for my brain”. This blog was viewed about 900,000 times in 2014. My WordPress helper monkeys behind the scenes tell me that if this were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 39 days for that many people to see it!  Grand total of Heart Sisters views is over 2 million from readers in 190 countries since I launched this site back in 2009.  

But first, I wish a very Happy New Year to my readers, especially to:

  • those of you who choose to share what you read here with your colleagues, families or your health care professionals
  • those who follow me on social media (including the 150+ physicians who follow me on Twitter)
  • my 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, and I’ll never do anything evil with your email info)
  • those who have generously shared your heartfelt, inspiring and so often entertaining personal comments here – I love hearing from you!
  • all women living with heart disease: you are not alone!

Now here’s that 2014 Top 10 list of the most widely-read Heart Sisters posts:

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 interviewed dozens of heart attack survivors – attracted over three times more daily readers on average than the second most-popular post in 2014)

2. How women can tell if they’re headed for a heart attack (this was also #2 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.  Why does your arm hurt during a heart attack? (this 2013 post starts with an incomprehensible response of gobbledygook from a physician to a patient’s question, and ends with my jargon-free translation)

4. Is it a heart attack – or a panic attack?  (We know that over 40% of people with a diagnosed panic disorder seek Emergency Department treatment because of frightening chest pain that is NOT heart-related; this post helps to figure it out)

5.  How soon are heart patients safely fit to fly? (Arguably my most practical post – listing helpful tips to read before you board your next flight. This 2010 article ranked #5 on last year’s Top 10 list, too)

6.  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-sense words of iconic cardiologist Dr. Bernard Lown)

7.  Chest pain while running uphill (the third of my 2014 3-part series on pain); the other two posts are:

8.  Heart attack misdiagnosis in women (Sigh. Why are we still seeing daily examples of women being misdiagnosed in mid-cardiac event compared to our male counterparts?)

9. “Is my bra too tight?” – a poem for heart patients (in which we wonder why physicians do not take this surprisingly common heart attack symptom seriously)

10. When we don’t look as sick as we feel (This post covers a lot about living with a chronic disease: invisible illness, healthy privilege, pasting on that happy face – you name it!)

Other 2014 stats tidbits from my WordPress helper monkeys about this site:

♥  Most Visitor Traffic in One Day: 8,919 views on December 8, 2014. Over 2,100 of these people were here to read my article on women’s early warning signs of heart attack (see #2 above).

♥  Average Daily Traffic Has Gone Crazy in 2014! One year ago, the average number of views per day in December was about 500. This year, it’s 7,246. I think December 8th (see above) might have skewed those stats somewhat – but even earlier months this year were a bit crazy – e.g. November’s average daily views: 5,423 this year, compared to 561 last November. Whaaaaat…?!?

♥  My visitors came from 190 countries. By far, most of my readers live in the U.S.A. – five times more than in the second place U.K.  Canadians were in third place, followed by Australia, India, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, and Singapore.

♥  How my blog readers found me:  most often by doing internet searches, almost all of them via Google. The words most frequently Googled: “heart attack signs for women” and “arm pain”. In 2014, more people landed here by following links posted on Twitter, beating out Facebook referrals for the second year in a row.

♥  Readers who like to leave comments: Turns out that 6 a.m. is the most active time of day for commenters. The blog posts that drew the most comments from readers this year were Misdiagnosed: Women’s Coronary Microvascular and Spasm Pain, closely followed by “We Are All Patients.” No, You’re Not. (a version of which was also picked up by the British Medical Journal on January 14th this year!)  I learn an awful lot from my commenters (even the exasperated reader who once wrote: “Carolyn, who cares what YOU think?”)

♥  Speaking of guest posts . . . Besides that British Medical Journal post, a number of Heart Sisters articles were picked up and republished as guest posts this past year by other sites. These include:

♥  Heart Sisters in the media! In 2014, I was interviewed for the following media stories:

Thanks so much, dear readers, for your support and interest in what I’ve been writing about here, and best wishes to you for good health and many happy adventures in 2015 . . .




10 Responses to “A year in review: Top 10 Heart Sisters posts in 2014”

  1. The Accidental Amazon January 1, 2015 at 6:22 am #

    Congrats, Carolyn! Your hard work is very much appreciated. You’ve helped me, my own blog followers, my patients, and even my doctor.

    Thank you so much & have a healthy new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 1, 2015 at 7:55 am #

      What a lovely comment, Kathi. I never imagined when I started this back in 2009 that writing about women’s heart disease would also speak to so many diagnosed with breast cancer (or other conditions!), but it seems we have much in common simply because we share a life-altering patient experience. I think you sum up this phenomenon best when you say in your own blog (readers: check out Kathi’s Accidental Amazon site for yourselves): “A little skepticism — and real knowledge — is better than a whole lot of disillusionment.”

      Happy New Year to you, too!


      • The Accidental Amazon January 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

        And so many people with breast cancer also develop heart disease, too, sometimes from chemo or radiation side effects, sometimes for all the usual reasons. Plus I deal with patients with heart disease every working day as a PT. And I have a family history of it, like so many. So I try to be vigilant. Your blog is such a great resource.


  2. Nitro Mama December 31, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Happy New Year! I was glad to learn that you are reaching so many people. I have benefited reading posts, especially the one about worrying about every little twinge being the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas December 31, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks, Nitro Mama! There’s always that fine line between worrying unnecessarily about every little twinge that is NOT heart-related, and ignoring those twinges that DO turn out to be heart-related! Learning which is which is a skill we learn to practice! Happy New Year to you…


  3. Kathleen December 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    Heart Sisters has made a difference in so many lives, Carolyn. I first found you when a search for “medical sexism” brought me to your post on “gas lighting.”

    Several correct diagnoses later, thanks for your help and support in so many, many ways.


    • Carolyn Thomas December 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words, Kathleen. I have learned a lot from your own patient journey as well!


  4. Curious to the Max December 28, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Carolyn, CONGRATULATIONS! That’s a whopping number of views and followers. You turned your heart attack into heartfelt giveback and created a blessing out of what could have been just a curse.
    I admire you. I steal from you and I love you.


    • Carolyn Thomas December 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Thank you, Judy-Judith! That IS indeed a whopping number of views, isn’t it? (still a bit gobsmacked at all of it!). Steal away – it’s an honour to be stolen from by you….

      Liked by 1 person

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