Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters posts from 2021

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters  

Looking back on what I wrote about here during 2021 was a reminder to me that, in the world of women’s heart health, I seem to be all over the map. And I rarely write about regular heart stuff like cholesterol or drugs or heart-healthy recipes (because people above my pay grade write far more efficiently elsewhere about those things!)  Here, for example, are the Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters articles during this past year:

Continue reading “Top 10 most-read Heart Sisters posts from 2021”

You’re not always going to feel this way

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

While binge-watching Season 4 of Grace and Frankie on Netflix the other day, I heard Frankie’s sweetheart, Jacob the Yam Man, trying to calm her down with a statement that has proven to be very true for me since my heart attack:

“You’re not always going to feel the way you do today!”

I think I’ll go embroider that on a pillow. . .            Continue reading “You’re not always going to feel this way”

New chest pain guideline: “atypical” is OUT!

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

At last! This long-awaited first-ever Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain for physicians and their patients has done a deep dive to help improve accuracy in evaluating and diagnosing cardiac symptoms(1)  – a huge and overwhelming effort.  I’m hopeful that updated guidelines might represent a turning point for all women presenting with those symptoms – and for the physicians who diagnose them.  Here’s my take on the impressive new Chest Pain Guideline  – along with a few concerns:      .       .  Continue reading “New chest pain guideline: “atypical” is OUT!”

“Be alert to both the absence of normal as well as the presence of abnormal”

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

It isn’t often that I’m wide awake at 1 a.m. But sometimes, a dream or a fire truck siren or whatever jolts me so wide awake in the middle of the night that sleep seems suddenly impossible. When this does happen, I’ve learned that I can sometimes lull myself back to sleep by turning on my bedside radio. (Radios! Remember those?)  My old clock radio is tuned permanently to CBC, our national Canadian broadcaster. And 1 a.m. is when CBC runs the Public Radio International program called “The World” . I love that show.

It isn’t often that I hear something on The World so perfectly applicable to women’s heart attacks that I’m moved to sit up in bed, grab a Sharpie and the little stack of post-it notes beside said radio, and quickly scribble down the words before I forget what’s just been said. But this was one of those times.         .    .    Continue reading ““Be alert to both the absence of normal as well as the presence of abnormal””

How I used to describe SCAD. And what I’ve learned since.

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

I’d never heard of the heart condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) until I attended the WomenHeart Science & Leadership patient advocacy training at Mayo Clinic in 2008.  SCAD, I learned back then, was a rare and often fatal condition, seen mostly in young, healthy women who have few if any cardiac risk factors. But in a recent interview, cardiologists who specialize in this frequently misunderstood diagnosis added some surprising updates to what is now known about SCAD.     .        . Continue reading “How I used to describe SCAD. And what I’ve learned since.”

Saying the word “misdiagnosis” is not doctor-bashing

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   
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Before my cardiac symptoms forced an early retirement, my entire adult career was spent in the field of public relations, in corporate, government and non-profit sectors. Which is to say I’ve had decades of firsthand experience speaking publicly on behalf of all kinds of people. I was paid to both defend the indefensible stupidity of certain industry presidents, and also to pitch engaging human interest stories to help promote good causes.
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But it was only when I started voluntarily speaking out on behalf of other female heart patients that I encountered any real backlash – and that came from the most unlikely sources.       .          .  Continue reading “Saying the word “misdiagnosis” is not doctor-bashing”