Tag Archives: GERD

Are you a heart attack waiting to happen?

29 Mar

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

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. Here was an intelligent, educated woman who’d been actively and relentlessly engaged year after year after year in one of the most well-known and downright dangerous risk factors for cardiovascular disease out there yet she’s surprised?

Cigarette smoking is considered the most important preventable cause of premature death in North America. So how is it even possible she would not know this? How is it possible that she would have no clue that her heavy smoking was damaging her heart? Continue reading

Heart attack – or an attack of heartburn?

12 Jun

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I was sent home from the Emergency Room with a misdiagnosis of heartburn (despite presenting with textbook heart attack symptoms like chest pain, sweating, nausea and pain radiating down my left arm). This was just two weeks before finally being hospitalized with a newly revised diagnosis of  “significant heart disease” and myocardial infarction (heart attack) caused by a fully occluded left anterior descending coronary artery – the so-called “widowmaker” heart attack.

Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart; it’s a digestive problem. Acidic liquid from your stomach can back up into your esophagus where it inflames the lining. But symptoms can appear confusingly similar.

How to tell if you’re having a heart attack or just an attack of simple heartburn?

Here’s how heartburn may be markedly different from a cardiac event:

keep reading…

Heart attack misdiagnosis in women

28 May

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

A woman attending one of my heart health presentations told me of her recent trip to the Emergency Department of our local hospital, and an overheard conversation between the (male) doctor and the (male) patient in the bed next door beyond the curtain:

“Your blood tests came back fine, your EKG tests are fine – but we’re going to keep you for observation just to rule out a heart attack”.

A male patient is thus admitted to hospital for observation in spite of ‘normal’ cardiac test results – as current treatment guidelines require.  But I and countless other females in mid-heart attack are being sent home from Emergency following ‘normal’ test results like his, and with misdiagnoses ranging from indigestion to anxiety or menopause.  Why is this?       click to continue reading