When a red dress just isn’t enough to raise awareness

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

A decade of lost ground  is how the official commentary from the American Heart Association bluntly described the stunningly awful results of its own 2019 National Survey on women’s heart disease awareness reported last month. I wrote about my own stunned reaction to this survey in Women’s Heart Disease: an Awareness Campaign Fail?

The results were astonishing.  They suggested that women not only had a low awareness of even the most basic facts about heart disease – the #1 killer of women worldwide – but awareness levels were significantly lower than an AHA awareness survey had found 10 years earlier.    .      .   Continue reading “When a red dress just isn’t enough to raise awareness”

The “big disconnect” in women’s heart health

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

hearts sunday_link_loveDr. Holly Andersen is a New York cardiologist who once told a Clinton Health Matters conference audience how frustrating it feels when she is able to impact only the women who come in to see her. She believes that increasing public awareness of heart disease can save lives, and this must start with women. Dr. Holly likes to say that “if you can educate a woman, you educate the family.” Here’s her sobering take on what she calls the “big disconnect” in women’s heart disease awareness, prevention and treatment: * Continue reading “The “big disconnect” in women’s heart health”

6 reasons women delay seeking medical help – even in mid-heart attack

by Carolyn Thomas @HeartSisters

I finally realized that I was in big trouble during a five-hour flight from Ottawa to Vancouver. But I’d been told emphatically by an Emergency Department physician two weeks earlier that my symptoms were just from acid reflux – and had nothing to do with my heart.

So for two weeks, I’d endured increasingly debilitating episodes of chest pain, sweating, nausea and pain radiating down my left arm. But hey! – at least I knew it wasn’t my heart. A man with the letters M.D. after his name had told me so. Continue reading “6 reasons women delay seeking medical help – even in mid-heart attack”

Are you a heart attack waiting to happen?

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

woman screaming-5 I was asked last year by a large U.S. publisher to review a new book written by a woman who had recently become a heart patient. I enjoyed reading the first chapter or two until I came to the New York author’s dramatic story of the actual cardiac event itself. The part that left me gobsmacked was not the event, but her abject shock and disbelief that she (of all people!) could be experiencing a heart attack at all.  The pervasive “Why me? Why me?” focus in this chapter clearly ignored a reality that the author had somehow chosen to gloss over: she’d been a heavy smoker for several decades.

Don’t get me wrong. Any cardiac event is indeed a traumatic occurrence no matter who and when it strikes. Sometimes, we truly have no hint about the cause of said event. And my immediate gut reaction was not meant to mock this author, or minimize her experience (which was awful). 

But I felt honestly surprised that she was surprised. Continue reading “Are you a heart attack waiting to happen?”

Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?

Over the past decade, studies have suggested that almost twice as many women are now aware that heart disease is our leading cause of death. But awareness of this fact is still disturbingly low. For example, when cardiologist Dr. Lori Mosca of Columbia University Medical Center surveyed 2,300 women to measure their awareness of heart disease risk and to evaluate awareness trends since 1997, her results showed:

  • although awareness of heart disease has improved since 1997, one-third of women are still unaware that it is the leading cause of death in females
  • many women continue to believe that unproven therapies will reduce their heart disease risk
  • only about one-half of women said they would call 911 if they thought they were having symptoms of a heart attack, which Mosca said was “incredibly discouraging.” Continue reading “Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?”