Tag Archives: Go Red for Women

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

25 Feb
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

Women, controversial statin guidelines, and common sense

1 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

101109expIf you’re a heart patient, I’m betting that you’re already taking one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. That’s because these drugs – with brand names like Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor or any of their generic forms – are routinely prescribed to those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. Many studies (largely funded by the drug companies that make statins) suggest that, for heart attack survivors, these drugs may help to significantly lower our risk of having another cardiac event. It’s what doctors call “secondary prevention”.

Some studies further suggest that statins are also useful for those who’ve never had heart disease, but who do have high LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol – what’s called “primary prevention”. But recently, statins hit the front page of The New York Times with a big fat *splat* when new clinical practice guidelines for treating/preventing heart disease were released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology (both heart organizations that are coincidentally largely funded by drug companies, too). The guidelines essentially said: from now on, forget about your LDL numbers. It’s all about your risk factors now. 

The likely result of this change, as I observed here and here, is the recommendation that, as long as you have a detectable pulse, you need to take statins. 

Continue reading

A “crazy-making vicious cycle of stress and discontent”

24 Jun

circle of concern

by Carolyn Thomas @HeartSisters

The best business management lesson that Jen Thorson ever learned may well be a lesson worth learning for all of us – particularly those of us living with heart disease (or any other chronic and progressive diagnosis).

Early in her business career, Jen (now a 30-something mom, distance runner, heart attack survivor and blogger), took a management course called “Dealing with Difficult People Without Losing Your Cool” (and who among us has not signed up for such a course at work, usually with a verrrry specific person in mind?)  Continue reading

The concept of ‘mansplaining’ explained for you . . .

12 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Regular readers already know how in love I am with the “Just a Little Heart Attack” film from the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women heart health campaign this year. In three short minutes, this film manages to do what countless other heart disease awareness campaigns I’ve seen fail to pull off: to be both hilarious and frightening, packed with life-saving education on common heart attack symptoms in women. The actress Elizabeth Banks – who also directed this short film, and whose real-life mother and sister have heart issues – plays a harried, multi-tasking mother trying desperately to get her family up, dressed, fed and ready to head out the door on time, all while completely ignoring her own worsening heart attack symptoms.

Elizabeth gets every small detail of this scenario pitch-perfect, including:

  • her “I’m fine!” reassurances as she reels with nausea, chest pressure, dizziness, jaw pain, neck pain, arm pain, weakness and profuse sweating
  • her apology to the 911 phone dispatcher for being a bother
  • and (my favourite scene!) her abject dismay at surveying the messy kitchen, knowing the ambulance is already en route and she won’t have time to tidy up before it arrives!

Women who have actually lived through this will probably recognize every excruciatingly familiar moment of what it’s like to experience a heart attack.

But noted health journalism watchdog Gary Schwitzer over at Health News Review felt otherwise about this film, which he criticized in a post called Disease-Mongering Du Jour: Heart Disease in Young Women.   Continue reading