Why don’t patients listen to doctors’ heart-healthy advice?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Imagine that your daughter is preparing for a junior ski race. It’s five minutes before the start of the race. You want to give her some meaningful advice. Which one of these two messages are you going to use?

1. “Honey, remember to do XYZ – it will help you avoid losing!”
2. “Honey, remember to do XYZ – it will make you faster and you will have more fun!”

Austrian physician Dr. Franz Wiesbauer, writing to his fellow doctors in a Medcrunch article called Why Your Health Message Does Not Work, has asked this question many times in an informal little experiment. His results?  Continue reading “Why don’t patients listen to doctors’ heart-healthy advice?”

Surprising trends in women’s heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥ @HeartSisters

During the 1980s, the American Heart Association launched an advertising campaign that asked: “If your husband had a heart attack in bed tonight, would you know what to do?” Even the AHA thought heart disease was strictly a man’s problem back then.

Offering this valuable historical perspective, Kansas City cardiologist Dr. Tracy Stevens reminds us that physicians are still practicing medicine based on cardiac studies performed mostly on white, middle-aged men.
Continue reading “Surprising trends in women’s heart disease”

Seven ways to misdiagnose a heart attack

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I’ve had a keen – some might say obsessive – interest in the subject of medical misdiagnosis ever since a man with the letters M.D. after his name sent me home from the Emergency Department in mid-heart attack. I had just been misdiagnosed with acid reflux – despite presenting with textbook cardiac symptoms.

These included crushing central chest pain, nausea, sweating, and pain radiating down my left arm. How can modern medicine still be making such potentially deadly misdiagnoses like this? Continue reading “Seven ways to misdiagnose a heart attack”

Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?

Over the past decade, studies have suggested that almost twice as many women are now aware that heart disease is our leading cause of death. But awareness of this fact is still disturbingly low. For example, when cardiologist Dr. Lori Mosca of Columbia University Medical Center surveyed 2,300 women to measure their awareness of heart disease risk and to evaluate awareness trends since 1997, her results showed:

  • although awareness of heart disease has improved since 1997, one-third of women are still unaware that it is the leading cause of death in females
  • many women continue to believe that unproven therapies will reduce their heart disease risk
  • only about one-half of women said they would call 911 if they thought they were having symptoms of a heart attack, which Mosca said was “incredibly discouraging.” Continue reading “Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?”

Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

A study from Johns Hopkins Hospital may be very bad news for drug companies that make statin drugs for cholesterol management.(1)  Statins, of course, are considered the darlings of Big Pharma. I’ve heard cardiologists joke (at least, I think they were joking) that statins are so fabulous at lowering our LDL (bad) cholesterol that we should be putting the drugs into our drinking water.

Virtually all heart attack survivors are now routinely prescribed statins (whether they have high cholesterol or not) and there’s a major marketing push for docs to prescribe statins as cardiovascular preventive therapy for virtually all adults, particularly to reduce blood levels of the inflammatory byproducts called C-reactive protein. But the Johns Hopkins study lead investigator Dr. Michael Blaha has this important new warning:   Continue reading “Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults”