When heart attack symptoms disappear – and then return

Let’s pretend that atypical heart attack symptoms don’t exist

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  ♥  February 25, 2018

Two cardiology reports landed in my inbox on the same day this past week, inside the same issue of the same cardiology journal. The first was a Yale University study on how women, particularly women younger than age 55, fare worse after surviving a heart attack compared to male counterparts, partly because of a tendency to present with vague or atypical symptoms that can delay accurate diagnoses.(1) The second was about the future of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® campaign.(2)* Both papers were published in the journal, Circulation.

The trouble was this: each report seemed to contradict the other. Continue reading “Let’s pretend that atypical heart attack symptoms don’t exist”

Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

When I interviewed Dr. Catherine Kreatsoulas* about the research paper she presented last month in Vancouver at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress(1), her previous heart studies caught my attention, too.

I was surprised by her explanation from earlier research on how some women describe their chest pain during a heart attack (2), as she told me:  .   .
Continue reading “Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms”

Researchers openly mock the ‘myth’ of women’s unique heart attack symptoms

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I was a woman on a mission while covering the proceedings of the 64th Annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver.  Specifically, my mission was to track down researchers working in the area of women’s heart disease. They were, sadly, few and far between, my heart sisters, as I had to explain here earlier.

“Out of over 700 scientific papers presented at this conference, I could count on one hand the number that focused on women’s heart health.”

Luckily, I did track down Dr. Karin Humphries from the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, and her University of British Columbia doctoral student Mona Izadnegahdar. Their paper found, not surprisingly, that women under age 55 fare worse than their male counterparts after a heart attack.(1)

While chatting with me about their findings, Dr. Humphries and Mona happened to mention the “popular misconception that women and men present with different heart attack symptoms”.   Continue reading “Researchers openly mock the ‘myth’ of women’s unique heart attack symptoms”

Women fatally unaware of heart attack symptoms

woman dixie thinking

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

“Women spend more time thinking about their weight than they do about their hearts.”

Honey, if you experience a sudden upset stomach, crushing fatigue and shortness of breath, put down your phone. You could be having a heart attack.

Barely one third of Canadian women are aware that pain in the chest, arm, neck, jaw or back are not always the most common symptoms for a woman suffering a heart attack – the #1 killer of women in Canada.

In fact, 43% of women report unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting during a cardiac event – but NOT chest pain.(1)

A 2008 Canadian study of women over 40 called the LIPSTICK Survey reported that women spend more time thinking about their weight than they do about their hearts. Only 10% of women surveyed knew their personal LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels, versus the 64% of women who know how much they weighed in high schoolContinue reading “Women fatally unaware of heart attack symptoms”