Little video, big questions on women’s heart disease

A big “Thank You” to Robyn Unwin Media and her enthusiastic film students who interviewed me about my misdiagnosed heart attack – and women’s heart disease in general – and particularly for asking important questions like What Needs To ChangeThe crew then turned my answers into this short film, a project that was written, shot and edited by students of the Film Industry Training and Skills course offered by the S.T.A.R.T.E. program and Beacon Community Services here in Victoria, BC.

Well done film students, and special thanks to Rob…  

(P.S. Love that cool Heart Sisters animation the crew came up with!)

Heart Sisters: Heart Health for Women from Robyn Lee Unwin on Vimeo.

24 thoughts on “Little video, big questions on women’s heart disease

    1. Hello Prunie – your support is also much appreciated. ♥

      The thing that keeps me fired up is the growing number of cardiologists (most but not all of them women!) who are devoted to raising awareness of/improving outcomes in women’s heart disease. For example, this fall I’ve counted three international medical conferences already that focus specifically on improving cardiac research, diagnosis, treatment and longterm follow up care for women – that’s something I did not see nine years ago when I started writing about the cardiology gender gap. Lots still to do, but that alone is truly good news, isn’t it?

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      1. Excellent, concise and informative video presenting key facts clearly.

        Ten months ago I had a STEMI and found out there were other major things wrong with my heart. You kindly replied to my post and somehow it made me feel I could get on with it. I bought your book and it changed my attitude.

        Yesterday, for the first time in ten months, I thought “something is different today” – I actually felt happy. I credit the guidance and support I have gained from reading your posts and book with giving me the courage to stand my ground and argue with the doctors about treatment, making me feel less alone or chemically coshed,
        feeling I was making a fuss about nothing and realising there is life after a life changing heart “event”.

        Thank you seems inadequate but thank you from the bottom of my sort-of working heart!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello Lindsay – thanks so much for taking the time to comment today. I’m so glad that you have somehow turned a corner. I often think that the first year post-heart attack (and in your case, more than one cardiac issue) is the toughest to get through – not just physically, but emotionally, psychologically and mentally.

          Getting to the point you did yesterday is a true cause for celebration! It doesn’t mean that life will be perfect from now on, but it means that the ups and downs will appear far more manageable than they have before now. There is indeed life after a life-changing heart event! ♥

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Chase – and hey! didn’t you say a few days ago that you’re taking a week or so off #SoMe? Hope you’re okay – and I’m glad my blog isn’t on that list!! ♥

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  1. Hi Carolyn. This video is so true. It just happened to me again. Went to ER because of pain in chest and left arm pain. They did all the tests and they came back normal. Sent me home saying it was just my small vessel disease acting up. Next day, had a heart attack. Had a 90% blockage in LAD and they had to balloon the stent that was already in that artery. This happened on 9/7/2018 and I still haven’t been able to see a real cardiologist. Just a nurse practitioner. Thank God I’m feeling better but I went thru hell for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Mary Kay – you’re already a diagnosed, previously stented heart patient and they STILL sent you home? The real question in cardiology is WHY cardiac diagnostic tests are showing “normal” for some women like you and me. Is it the testing technology itself that’s not appropriate for women, or is it the interpretation of the test results?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Carolyn …..your videos/blogs have helped me enormously in dealing with heart disease in a more positive way…excellent information and encouragement.

    As a retired cardiac nurse, I look forward to your blogs. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for making this video. Every word is absolutely true. It took more than 25 years for me to get a diagnosis. Shortly thereafter, I had my heart attack. It took my father dying and my having a heart Cath in order to finally get a correct diagnosis. It took several years for me to stop being angry at the doctors for my many misdiagnoses. But, I finally came to the conclusion that doctors simply did not know the facts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sharen – 25 years of getting your heart disease misdiagnosed sounds insane. Yet back then when your initial symptoms first hit, even less was known among healthcare professionals about women’s heart disease. (Consider that it was only in 1995 that a groundbreaking report on cardiovascular disease in women was written for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada). Things are better now compared to then – but as our wonderful mentor Dr. Sharonne Hayes at Mayo Clinic wrote recently about women’s cardiac misdiagnoses: “In 2018, it is much less common, but it absolutely still occurs. Women with troponin elevations are being sent home. This does NOT happen to men.”

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  4. I am almost 2 years out from my STEMI heart attack…it takes so much longer to recover mentally… I am still angry about some things.

    I had excellent care at the hospital but I don’t remember most of it or even the weeks after. I felt rushed to recover at home because my husband also has heart disease. It’s the first serious health setback I have ever had, and I am almost 70.

    My doctors treated me for my physical symptoms and actually gave me some xanax to help me sleep, but ignored my mental issues because my heart only had minor damage. My anger was overwhelming because everyone wanted me to be better.

    I am a survivor so I am getting better but still scared it will happen again. Your columns have helped a lot, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris – that’s quite a shock, to go through so many decades of good health, all the while considering yourself a healthy person, only to have a heart attack in your 60s. And feeling scared it will happen again (hypervigilance) is alarmingly common. So glad you are finally getting better.

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  5. This video could be mandatory viewing for all health care workers from physician/ cardiologists to hospital workers so that they are aware of this and can react appropriately. Well done Carolyn,another piece of great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was terrific! In this short, well-done video, you summarize the key takeaways that have kept me reading your blog for years. Thank you for all you have done to advance awareness about heart disease in women.

    Liked by 1 person

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