“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!”

Yentl’s bikini: Dr. Martha Gulati on women’s most deadly heart attacks

 

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    May 26, 2019

I’d love to believe that if both a man and a woman suffering the same type of serious heart attack showed up together at the same Emergency Department, their treatments and outcomes would be the same. I wish I could believe that, but as cardiologist Dr. Martha Gulati wrote last week:

“Despite progress, gaps still persist in how we treat women, and the impact on outcomes. Decades of tracking outcomes continue to show gaps in the treatment of women, and similar findings have been replicated throughout the world.”    .

Continue reading “Yentl’s bikini: Dr. Martha Gulati on women’s most deadly heart attacks”

This is NOT what a woman’s heart attack looks like

thatguy2.pngThis is a man told by the photographer to act like he’s having a heart attack.

 

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  May 19, 2019

One of the reasons that I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack (even while I was actually having one) was my very inaccurate stereotype of what a woman’s heart attack can look like.

I used to think that heart attacks happen only to men. Old men. Mostly out-of-shape chain smokers and heavy drinkers.  Old, out-of-shape, smoking, drinking men, who one day out on the golf course suddenly clutch their chests in agony and keel over, unconscious. CPR. 911. Golf buddies yelling. Ambulance sirens. Paramedics. Defibrillator paddles. That’s a heart attack, right?

Wrong, my dear heart sisters. That’s NOT a heart attack.  Continue reading “This is NOT what a woman’s heart attack looks like”

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?”

Is SCAD rare? Or just rarely diagnosed correctly?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    February 10, 2019

I was happy to see Katherine Leon featured in The New York Times recently. Katherine, like me, is a graduate of the WomenHeart Science & Leadership patient advocacy training at Mayo Clinic. She told the Times of undergoing emergency coronary bypass surgery at age 38, several days after her severe cardiac symptoms had been dismissed by doctors who told her, “There’s nothing wrong with you.” She isn’t alone. Many, many studies have shown that female heart patients are significantly more likely to be under-diagnosed – and worse, often under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed – compared to our male counterparts. This is especially true for women with her condition (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, or SCAD) that was once considered to be a rare disease. Dr. Sharonne Hayes is also featured in the NYT piece; she’s a respected Mayo Clinic cardiologist, longtime SCAD researcher and founder of the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic. (You can read their story here).

But almost as soon as the Times piece was published online, I was gobsmacked to see some of the reader comments coming in – especially comments from people like these:   Continue reading “Is SCAD rare? Or just rarely diagnosed correctly?”