Avoiding avoidable cardiac care

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

I’ve written here previously about the difference between people who are health-seekers as opposed to those who tend to be disease-seekers.  I  would lump myself into the former category;  what I’m looking for is quality medical care that’s appropriate and available when I need it. But as a heart attack survivor, I also want to avoid health care that is not 100% absolutely necessary, whether that’s a drug or a clinical procedure or a diagnostic test.

Drugs, procedures and tests that are not necessary make up what doctors call “avoidable care”. It’s a growing issue that the medical profession has been aware of for decades. But many physicians appear oddly unreceptive to hearing or talking about avoidable care, apparently even among their doctor buddies.    Continue reading “Avoiding avoidable cardiac care”

Are you a ‘health seeker’ or a ‘disease seeker’?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I recently wrote about a woman who has few if any cardiac symptoms, no definitive test results, and very little if any reason to believe she might have a heart condition. Yet she is so utterly convinced of her extreme risk for having a heart attack that she actually describes feeling like a “ticking time bomb”.

Her conviction may have something to do with the increasing media coverage of atypical signs of heart disease in women (= a good thing).  Or it may have something to do with the possibility that she is “catastrophizing” by looking to snag an attention-getting heart disease diagnosis (= a bad thing).

I’ve recently subscribed to medical historian Dr. Jan Henderson‘s fascinating blog called The Health Culture, and that’s where I was once again reminded of a book that may actually help to inform this woman’s case. Continue reading “Are you a ‘health seeker’ or a ‘disease seeker’?”

“Catastrophizing” – why we feel sicker than we actually are

by Carolyn Thomas

It’s distressingly common in cardiac circles to run into people who don’t have heart disease, but who are very certain that they do. When I first heard some of their stories, I suspected that these people are being misdiagnosed, but the reality may instead be that there’s no heart disease here at all.

This scenario came up recently with a woman with few if any cardiac symptoms, no definitive test results, and very little reason for believing she might have a heart condition. Yet she was so utterly convinced a heart attack was imminent that she described feeling like a “ticking time bomb”. A fellow heart attack survivor, far braver than I, suggested to this woman that she might be experiencing a phenomenon called catastrophizing.   Continue reading ““Catastrophizing” – why we feel sicker than we actually are”