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?”→
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!
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.”
February is our shortest month of the year and also the month officially acknowledged almost everywhere as Heart HealthAwareness 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”→