Sweating: the neglected cardiac symptom

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥ @HeartSisters

One of the first heart attack symptoms I experienced (along with central chest pain, nausea and pain down my left arm) was profuse sweating. I was out for my regular early morning walk at the time, but not going faster than usual or trekking up a steep hill. It was a mild spring day – just your average Monday morning walk along the relatively flat streets of my neighbourhood.

As a former distance runner, I have had years of experience on long very sweaty runs. But sudden sweating during an easy flat walk? That just doesn’t happen to me.       . Continue reading “Sweating: the neglected cardiac symptom”

Could you wait 10 years for a cardiac diagnosis?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

My pal Cheryl Strachan, a Registered Dietitian in Calgary and author of my favourite cookbook for heart patients (30-Minute Heart Healthy Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for Easy, Low-Sodium Meals ), contacted me on February 13th (our national ‘Wear Red Canada’ Day) to ask:

Are you watching today’s ‘Wear Red Canada’ webinar?  If you’re  listening to Bobbi-Jo Green’s heart patient story, I’m picturing smoke coming out of your ears!”

Cheryl had guessed correctly. By the time Bobby-Jo finished her webinar presentation, I was livid. Continue reading “Could you wait 10 years for a cardiac diagnosis?”

When doctors won’t say “I don’t know”

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥  @HeartSisters

I’ve often wondered – long before my own cardiac misdiagnosis – how our physicians can possibly correctly diagnose the countless medical mysteries presented to them day after day. The reality, of course, is that no doctor – even the most experienced and skilled – can be 100 per cent certain of the precise cause of every medical problem out there. And if the cause can’t be identified, the mystery won’t likely be appropriately solved.

But when doctors don’t know,  how do they communicate that uncertainty to their patients?       .     Continue reading “When doctors won’t say “I don’t know””

Modern medicine is male-centric medicine, and that’s a problem for women.

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters 

In September, I mentioned here an important book written by Dr. Alyson McGregor, an Emergency physician and associate professor of medicine at Brown University.  The book: Sex Matters:  How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It“.   Her first chapter opens with a story about Julie, a 32-year old woman she met in her Emergency department one day – a story that’s disturbingly familiar to women like me whose heart attack has been misdiagnosed:          .    Continue reading “Modern medicine is male-centric medicine, and that’s a problem for women.”

Diagnostic Uncertainty vs. Unwarranted Certainty: which is worse for patients?

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

The Emergency physician who misdiagnosed my heart attack displayed not even a whiff of uncertainty while delivering that misdiagnosis.  “YOU” – he declared confidently – “are in the right demographic for acid reflux!”  (without any gastrointestinal diagnostic tests). He sent me home that day with instructions to ask my family doctor to prescribe antacid drugs for my symptoms (central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain down my left arm).  I now suspect that, if only that confident doc would have bothered to Google my symptoms, both he and Dr. Google would have landed on the same search result:  myocardial infarction (heart attack).

But in fact, he seemed remarkably certain despite being remarkably wrong.   . Continue reading “Diagnostic Uncertainty vs. Unwarranted Certainty: which is worse for patients?”