Tag Archives: myocardial infarction

85% of hospital admissions for chest pain are NOT heart attack

30 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

“I was asleep and my symptoms woke me up. I had several simultaneous symptoms, but the first one seemed to be central chest pain. It wasn’t sharp or crushing or burning, more like a dull pressure. The pain radiated down my left arm and up into my neck and jaw. I had cold sweats, and I felt nauseated.”

Laura Haywood-Cory, age 41, heart attack, six stents

Researchers tell us that over 90% of us already know that chest pain like Laura’s could be a symptom of what doctors call Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI – or heart attack) or Acute Coronary Syndrome (any condition brought on by sudden reduced blood flow to the heart muscle).  So it may not surprise you to learn that chest pain is the main reason that over 6 million people rush to the Emergency Departments of North American hospitals each year. These visits also represent a whopping 25% of all hospital admissions – yet 85% of these admissions do NOT turn out to be heart-related at allContinue reading

Heart attack explained in 10 easy minutes

24 May

by Carolyn Thomas 

I’m selfishly reluctant to tell you about Khan Academy’s amazing little film that brilliantly explains in about 10 minutes what a heart attack is all about. This reluctance is because once you visit Sal Khan‘s website, you’ll abandon Heart Sisters as well as all other sites you love, and may never come back. His Khan Academy is the thinking person’s version of those addictive cute kitty time-wasters on YouTube.   Continue reading

Size matters – but not in coronary artery blockages

21 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

It’s not about your cholesterol numbers, and it’s not even about big fat blockages clogging up your coronary arteries. Did you know that inflammation is likely the culprit in most heart attacks? As cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola neatly describes it:

“Heart disease is about inflammation.  The same mechanisms that cause the throat to swell from an infection, the skin to redden after an insect bite, and a scar to form after a cut are what cause heart problems.”

Studies continue to show demonstrable links between heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.
Continue reading

No such thing as a “small” heart attack

18 Jul

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

As I have written here earlier: 

“There are few life events more stressful, in my considered opinion, than surviving a heart attack.

“Not only is the actual cardiac event a traumatic and overwhelming experience in itself, but what very few cardiologists tell us before they boot us out the hospital door is how debilitating the day-to-day angst about every subsequent bubble and twinge can actually be.  Continue reading

Deep thoughts about death and heart disease

19 Jul

red poppies

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

This week, I’ve been reading Yale Medical School professor Dr. Sherwin Nuland’s amazing book How We Die – which is not nearly as grim as it sounds.  In fact, it’s an endlessly fascinating read. For heart attack survivors, the concept of death can become more interesting than we ever imagined it to be.

We live in a death-denying society. People don’t want to think about death, much less talk about it. As Dr. Nuland writes, death to most of us occurs “in sterile seclusion cloaked in euphemism and taboo”. We don’t even like using the ‘D’ word. Instead of ‘dying’, we prefer to “pass on”, or “pass away” or “go to be with Jesus”. Continue reading