What women need to know about pregnancy complications and heart disease

 by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“I’d love to speak about the patient’s perspective at your Toronto conference in June,” I said last winter in response to an invitation from Dr. Graeme Smith, a Canadian obstetrician who teaches at Queen’s University in Kingston and specializes in high-risk pregnancies. “But traveling halfway across the country is just too hard on me these days.”

As the unofficial poster child for the well-documented link between pregnancy complications and premature cardiovascular disease, I was already very familiar with Dr. Smith’s work.  See also: Pregnancy complications strongly linked to heart disease

Shortly after I turned down his kind invitation to speak, he invited me again (hey, he’s persistent!) – but this time he offered the irresistible option of speaking to the Toronto audience via teleconference:

“Does this mean I can stay in my jammies, drink coffee at my kitchen table, and just speak to your group over the phone?!”

Continue reading “What women need to know about pregnancy complications and heart disease”

Heart disease: women’s #1 cause of untimely death

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“Despite national campaigns to increase awareness and reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in women, CVD remains our leading cause of death, annually killing more women than men.”

That statement from experts meeting at the Minnesota Women’s Heart Summit should send chills down your spine.  For a number of years we have known that women are under-diagnosed for heart disease – and then under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed – yet here are a bunch of world-class cardiologists and public health experts still puzzling on how to address the deadly issue that is our #1 killer. Or, to paraphrase heart attack survivor Laura Heywood-Cory‘s take on the state of women’s heart health:

“Sucks to be female. Better luck next life!”  Continue reading “Heart disease: women’s #1 cause of untimely death”

Pregnancy: the ultimate cardiac stress test

by Carolyn Thomas

I’m not interested in this Canadian women’s health initiative in Kingston, Ontario just because it will help identify links between our pregnancy complications and heart disease.

I’m not interested in this just because during my first pregnancy I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia – a serious complication that has now been “strongly linked” with a marked increase in cardiovascular disease.

And I’m not interested just because I have such a personal soft spot for the historic limestone city of Kingston and for its venerable Queen’s University, along with other members of our family who are Queen’s grads – “Oil thigh na Banrighinn! Cha-gheill! Cha-gheill! Cha-gheill! ” (for those of you who happen to have your Gaelic-English dictionaries handy).

Here’s why I do care about this innovative new women’s program.   Continue reading “Pregnancy: the ultimate cardiac stress test”