“I rang the bell again. No one came.”

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

There are a number of big issues that leaped out at me about the hospital story you’re about to read.  Let’s see how many of them you observe, too – and how many could have been prevented.  This story is told by Ann, an Australian heart patient whose cardiac journey began in 2007 when she was 51 years old. But over the years since then, she has continued to suffer debilitating cardiac symptoms almost every day.

Her symptoms include not just chest pain, but pain throughout her upper back, jaw, shoulder, neck or arm, occasionally with severe shortness of breath. Despite taking a fistful of daily heart meds and wearing a nitro patch to help manage pain, Ann is rarely able to sleep through an entire night without being awoken by these symptoms. And here’s why . . .
Continue reading ““I rang the bell again. No one came.””

Misdiagnosed: women’s coronary microvascular and spasm pain

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Findings from the federally funded Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study — a landmark investigation into ischemic heart disease (meaning reduced blood supply to the heart muscle) – are helping us to understand that, as the Harvard Women’s Health Watch puts it: heart disease – like cancer – is not one, but several disorders.

While I was at Mayo Clinic shortly after my heart attack, I also learned that at least two of these disorders are far more commonly seen in women than in men’s “Hollywood heart attacks”. These two heart conditions are coronary microvascular disease (MVD) and coronary artery spasm (CAS). Continue reading “Misdiagnosed: women’s coronary microvascular and spasm pain”

Women’s heart pain is both physical and emotional

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

woman abstract6Before a heart attack actually occurs, people suffering from the chest pain of angina can feel emotionally traumatized.  Angina may be a physical cardiovascular problem, but it can also take a remarkable emotional toll in the form of anxiety or depression. 

Imagine living in constant dread of the next painful attack, or feeling distressed because angina has forced you to give up activities you enjoy. Over time, anxiety and depression may become a part of your ongoing cardiac symptoms along with the alarming chest pain that can come with an angina attack.  This can lead to a vicious cycle: depression, anxiety, and stress may actually trigger angina pain by prompting the release of hormones that make the heart work harder.
Continue reading “Women’s heart pain is both physical and emotional”