The 2018 Heart Sisters blog posts you liked best

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters     December 30, 2018

This year, a “Best Of” list with a twist. Usually my behind-the-scenes WordPress stats page tracks total views so far for each article I write. That kind of all-time list, however, simply favours the oldest articles, most of which have the advantage of attracting readers over and over, year after year ever since I launched Heart Sisters back in 2009. So this year, here are your Top 10 most-read of the dozens of articles I wrote in 2018:

  1. ♥  Can early warning symptoms predict a heart attack? – I interviewed Dr. Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy from Brock University (in my own home town of St. Catharines, Ontario) about her research that found women who reported one or more early cardiac symptoms were four times more likely to have a subsequent major adverse cardiac event compared with women who had reported none.
  2. ♥  Open wide! Cardiac symptoms diagnosed in the dental chair – Speaking of early warning symptoms, Mary Kay Osborne wrote to me this year after reading about Dr. O’Keefe-McCarthy’s research. She learned that “jaw or teeth pain” is one of several possible early cardiac warning signs – and that’s what she experienced, too. In fact, her pain was so bad that, before her heart attack was finally diagnosed, she even had two teeth extracted (“…that I don’t think I needed pulled”). Find out here about what dentists call the “orofacial pain” that could be linked to heart disease.
  3. ♥  Hello pacers! A little Q&A about your pacemaker – I spent years not writing about what it’s like to have a pacemaker implanted because I don’t have one myself. But thanks to a blog reader’s urging (and practical tips from many helpful “pacers” online), here it is.
  4. ♥  Hair loss and heart meds – Am I the only woman noticing that my hair seems to be thinning? Here’s how some cardiac medications might be contributing to hair loss.
  5. ♥  Did you hear this? Oatmeal is now your enemy – Oh, for Pete’s sake! This is my response to a big famous U.S. hospital when they started to act like food nazis . .
  6. ♥  Same heart attack, same misdiagnosis – but one big difference – I’ve been told by many cardiologists since my misdiagnosed heart attack in 2008 that what happened to me back then could never happen today (better diagnostic tools now, doctors more aware of women’s cardiac issues, blah-blah-blah). But in February, I read about Nancy Bradley, whose misdiagnosed heart attack experience was freakishly identical to mine – except hers happened 10 years after mine did. THIS IS STILL HAPPENING!
  7. ♥  Oh, great. Another cardiac risk factor to worry about. . . – I had heard about something called Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) without ever connecting the dots to my own life. Turns out a high ACE score assessing the emotional and physical realities of your own childhood is strongly linked to an increased risk of later cardiovascular disease. This post has a link to the ACE test.
  8. ♥  The Grinch’s Guide to Women’s Heart Attacks (with apologies to Dr. Seuss) – This was such a nice surprise! Barely a week after this Christmas-themed poem was published, its popularity meant that it made the 2018 list!  (Could that be enough to make me consider becoming a real poet someday?!)
  9. ♥  Our cardiac meds – in real life, not just in studies – I was shocked to read Dr. Desmond Julian’s study about the benefits and risks of longterm use of cardiovascular drugs. “Clinical trials rarely go beyond a few years of follow-up, but patients are often given continuous treatment with multiple drugs well into old age.”  You’ll want to read about Dr. Julian’s research if you’ve been taking your heart medications for a long time.
  10. ♥  When patients feel like hostages – Health researchers call it Hostage Bargaining Syndrome (HBS) in which patients and their family members “can feel reluctant to assert their own important interests in the presence of those who are providing care” – much like those who are held hostage feel. Texas researchers have suggestions for their medical colleagues to help avoid HBS in their own patients.


Here’s an archived list of all 800 Heart Sisters posts published here since 2009. (Whew! That’s a lot!)

Q: What makes a blog article memorable for you?


See also:

8 thoughts on “The 2018 Heart Sisters blog posts you liked best

  1. Thx for this terrific “Best Of” list, Carolyn. Appreciate your unique perspective and I always learn something new with each of your articles – that’s my definition of what makes a good blog post. Happy 2019 to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year Carolyn. What a great list – I can’t wait to read each one, a remarkably wide range of topics that are of interest to heart patients. Thanks for this – I’m pouring another cup of coffee and settling in for a good read this morning.
    PS Love your book and have recommended it to so many of my patients!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NOTE FROM CAROLYN: This comment has been removed because it was trying to sell you an evidence-free miracle cure for heart disease.

    Maybe I should run a Top 10 Most Annoying Spam Comments someday…


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