Too fit and healthy to worry about heart disease?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Anne at the 2017 Monterey Bay Half Marathon, Thomas Blog photo*

 A number of my readers contacted me recently to make sure I’d seen Gretchen Reynolds’ new Washington Post article  (THANK YOU, dear heart sisters, for thinking of me!)  For those who missed it, I want to revisit some key messages from a tragic story about Gretchen’s friend, Anne – her hiking/mountain biking/distance running (also non-drinking and non-smoking) buddy.  Gretchen described 61-year old Anne as “kind and capable, modest and fit”.  She died suddenly last month.  Anne’s  cause of death, as Gretchen wrote in her regular column in the Post, was “a bolt-of-lightning heart attack” :         . 
Continue reading “Too fit and healthy to worry about heart disease?”

When male and female heart patients play the same game, but with different rules

                                   .        Notice anything unusual about this group of doctors?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

She introduced herself to me as she took her seat – although she, of course, needed NO introduction. I was utterly star-struck to realize that THE Nanette Wenger had just sat down beside me in the Mayo Clinic auditorium hosting our conference on women and heart disease. Between the onstage presentations, she chatted amiably, graciously curious about me, a heart patient/panelist on that day’s conference schedule.  I asked about her early days as a female cardiologist in such a steeply male-dominated field. My take-away from that memorable autumn afternoon:  when a noted medical pioneer who has been a practicing cardiologist for 70 years speaks, you listen!

Here’s what Dr. Wenger recently had to say about a Yale University study – in her no-nonsense editorial published in the cardiac journal Circulation – Sauce for the Goose vs. Sauce for the Gander:  Should Men and Women Play the Same Game But With Different Rules?”          .      Continue reading “When male and female heart patients play the same game, but with different rules”

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?”

Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

February is our shortest month of the year and also the month officially acknowledged almost everywhere as Heart Health Awareness Month. Then we all turn the calendar page and glide over to March, the official month of Liver Health Awareness, Disability Awareness, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Red Cross Awareness worldwide – and many other causes. My niggling question remains: do these assorted official days/weeks/months of awareness-raising actually help to raise awareness out there?  Continue reading “Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results”

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”