“A Typical Heart” Film Screening/Panel Discussion September 7th

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     August 11, 2019

.“A Typical Heart  is a short but powerful documentary film about women’s #1 killer. Heart disease, in fact, will kill more women this year than all forms of cancer combined. Yet until very recently, cardiac research on diagnostic tools, drugs and procedures has been done only on (white, middle-aged) men.(1)  Even the lab  mice used in early cardiac research were exclusively male animals.(2 ) No wonder many women still consider heart disease to be a “man’s problem”.

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This remarkable documentary was the brainchild of paramedic and researcher Cristina D’Alessandro of York Region Paramedic Services north of Toronto, who first asked the profoundly important question:
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If women make up over half our population, why are our heart attack symptoms still called ATYPICAL?”         Continue reading ““A Typical Heart” Film Screening/Panel Discussion September 7th”

When women are far too busy to seek medical help

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters     July 28, 2019

In the wonderful world of cardiology, we know that “time is muscle”. The faster a person in mid-heart attack can get prompt and effective treatment, the greater the likelihood of saving that heart muscle, and of survival itself. As Yale University researcher Dr. Angelo Alonzo has suggested, the weak link in the chain of events leading to prompt and effective cardiac treatment is often patient delay in seeking care (which I’ve written about lots because I was so good at this myself:  here, here and here, for example).  Ironically, even having “knowledge of symptoms or risk factors” does NOT decrease this pervasively common treatment-seeking delay behaviour.   . Continue reading “When women are far too busy to seek medical help”

“A Typical Heart” – this documentary film pulls no punches!

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters     July 15 , 2019

Just launched on July 15th, the important documentary film called A Typical Heart is a triumph. It’s about the deadly disparity in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes among male and female heart patients. It packs an incredible load of unforgettable factoids and quotable quotes into just 22 short minutes.     . Continue reading ““A Typical Heart” – this documentary film pulls no punches!”

A cardiologist’s own family calls 911 – but has to beg for help

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  ♥  June 16, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Co-Vu is a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Florida Congenital Heart Center. She recently shared on Twitter a chilling report of what happened when 911 was called to help her own mother-in-law who was experiencing crushing chest pain. The ambulance arrived quickly, but paramedics told this 65-year old woman with diabetes that she was having a panic attack.

Unlike other women who are misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack, however, this patient had immediate access to something few of us have: doctors in her family.   .. Continue reading “A cardiologist’s own family calls 911 – but has to beg for help”

The chest pain / panic connection

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters     April 28, 2019

For most of us, feelings of anxiety or panic are generally occasional, mild and brief – normal responses to being worried or scared. I never thought of myself as a person who was prone to experience anxiety or panic – until I survived a heart attack. I can now tell you quite confidently that there are few things in life that are more anxiety-producing than being in the middle of a frickety-frackin’ heart attack. . . Continue reading “The chest pain / panic connection”

Why won’t doctors believe women?

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters    March 24, 2019

A woman in one of my Heart-Smart Women presentation audiences told me about a conversation she overheard in our local Emergency Department, in which the physician said to the (male) patient in the bed next to hers:

“All of your cardiac tests came back ‘normal’, but we’re going to admit you for observation just to make sure it isn’t your heart.”

That story tells us that (unlike your average woman – i.e. me! – with cardiac symptoms alarming enough to propel her to seek emergency care, but unlucky enough to have tests that look “normal”), a man who shows up with both cardiac symptoms and “normal” test results does not need to fight to be believed. Continue reading “Why won’t doctors believe women?”