Following my heart attack, my family doctor told me that when she was in medical school, the type of heart attack that I’d had was called a ‘widowmaker‘.
This was apparently because a full blockage like mine in this particular coronary artery was usually fatal, thus making the patient’s wife an instant widow. Please note the gender imbalance: men – the ones who could ‘make’ a ‘widow’ – were considered to be the ones suffering this kind of heart attack. Doctors don’t, for example, call it the widower maker . . .
Alas, there are still doctors who are unaware that, since 1984, more women than men die of heart disease each year. An American Heart Association survey found that only 8% of physicians (and an even more appalling 17% of cardiologists!) actually knew that heart disease kills more women than men annually.
So I was intrigued to run across this chronological overview on Gender and Cardiovascular Disease showing how since 1970, the medical profession has gradually – and I do mean gradually – wisened up to the reality that heart disease is a woman’s disease, too. Continue reading “How doctors discovered that women have heart attacks, too”