Why heart patients generally don’t say: “Doc, tell me what to do and I’ll do it!”

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

When you need medical help, how does your family doctor decide which diagnostic tests to order for you, and which treatments to recommend based on those test results?  Physicians are trained to rely on a type of professional playbook called clinical guidelines to help them make those decisions. But as Dr. Michael Vallis, a professor of family medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, described the problem family docs face with clinical guidelines:

“There’s just no way they can follow every single guideline. One of the biggest impediments to physicians following new guideline recommendations is that they’re overwhelmed.”       .
Continue reading “Why heart patients generally don’t say: “Doc, tell me what to do and I’ll do it!””

Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE”

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

 A small Australian study published this month explores two elements that seem pretty darned important to patients and their families following a diagnosis of chronic heart failure (CHF) – yet may often appear to be minimized or even dismissed by healthcare professionals.  In this study, participants were asked to report their lived experience through two key themes:  1. Heartache and 2. Living with Failure.             .
Continue reading “Chronic heart failure: the true heartache of living with “FAILURE””

When the person in trouble is your paramedic

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

The history of transporting the seriously ill is one with gruesome origins, as Christina Frangou explained in her compelling Maclean’s piece on emergency medical services (EMS) here in Canada:

“In 1832, a cholera outbreak in the town of York – now Toronto – led to the creation of the first known ambulance service in what would become Canada. The town approved a wooden “cholera cart” to tow sick patients away from crowded areas, sometimes straight to funeral homes. These carters, as they were called, did not provide medical care. They simply carried the dead and dying away from the living.”

Modern paramedics are not, of course, just ambulance drivers.      .    Continue reading “When the person in trouble is your paramedic”

Must women bring an advocate along so doctors will believe us?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

This week, three books and three bold messages about the problem with male-centric medicine:  In her book Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health, Dr. Alyson McGregor defines male-centric medicine like this: medical research and medical practice based on models historically designed to work in men, while ignoring the unique biological/emotional differences between men and women. In fact, she writes that the male-centric model of medicine is now so pervasive in health care that many of us don’t even realize it exists:

“Women who experience severe pain often have trouble convincing the doctor treating them of how serious that pain is. The more women protest and try to convince the physician, the more their behaviour is perceived as hysterical. This perception can work against them in the Emergency Department.”

If that’s where you are, Dr. McGregor warns: “the best thing you can do as a woman is to bring an advocate with you to explain your symptoms.”         .   Continue reading “Must women bring an advocate along so doctors will believe us?”

Weird facts about women and heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

Every February is Heart Month – when facts and stats about heart disease flood our screens. But Heart Month facts and stats are so pre-COVID – when we also learned the truly discouraging results of the latest American Heart Association (AHA)’s national survey.  This survey found that women’s awareness of heart disease actually DECLINED over the previous decade – despite all the inspiring Red Dress fashion shows/awareness-raising/Go-Red-for-Women campaign efforts out there. So instead of repeating more scary statistics as if I hadn’t read that survey’s results, this time I’m simply offering some weird stuff I’ve learned over the years about women and heart disease:    .             Continue reading “Weird facts about women and heart disease”