How doctors discovered that women have heart attacks, too

Woman.pasja1000PIXABAYby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

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 awidowmaker‘.

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 yearAn 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”

Heart attack misdiagnosis in women

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

A woman attending one of my heart health presentations told me of her recent trip to the Emergency Department of our local hospital, and an overheard conversation between the (male) doctor and the (male) patient in the bed next door beyond the curtain:

“Your blood tests came back fine, your EKG tests are fine – but we’re going to keep you for observation just to rule out a heart attack”.

A male patient is thus admitted to hospital for observation in spite of ‘normal’ cardiac test results – as current treatment guidelines require.  But I and countless other females in mid-heart attack are being sent home from Emergency following ‘normal’ test results like his, and with misdiagnoses ranging from indigestion to anxiety or menopause.  Why is this?       click to continue reading