Tag Archives: women and heart attack

If I’d had my heart attack decades ago . . .

24 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

“When I first became a GP in England well over 30 years ago, the early diagnosis of myocardial infarction (heart attack) was a matter of slight importance, since there was no intervention which made any difference to survival.

“You tried to reach patients in their homes quickly to relieve their pain with heroin, but only sent them to hospital if their pain was not controlled, or they were going into shock.  Studies at the time indicated that patients with heart attacks survived better at home, where they were less likely to be killed with injections of lidocaine.”

Quite a difference, according to Dr. Richard Lehman, writing this in the British Medical Journal last month, compared to modern cardiac care options like clot-busting thrombolytic drugs or invasive coronary angioplasty procedures that are now routinely available to patients presenting with heart attack symptoms these days. (Unless, of course, you happen to be a woman under the age of 55 presenting to the E.R in mid-heart attack, in which case, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, you are seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed and sent home compared to your male counterparts with the same symptoms).*  But I digress . . .      Continue reading

Forget Type A: a woman’s heart disease risk is higher for Type D personalities

17 Jul

woman sunglasses angry

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

According to the Harvard Heart Letter, if you are the kind of person who . . .

  • tends to sweat the small stuff
  • sees the glass as half empty
  • keeps your feelings bottled up inside

… then you might well be termed a Type D (distressed or distant) personality, and be at increased risk for heart disease.

Type D people tend to be anxious, irritable, and insecure. They keep an eye out for trouble rather than pleasure. They may experience high levels of stress, anger, worry, hostility, tension, rudeness and other negative and distressing emotions. Even if they lack a strong support network of friends or family, they go to great lengths to avoid saying or doing things that others don’t like. As a result of biting their tongues to keep their negativity to themselves, they often feel tense and inhibited around other people.

Does this sound like it might be you?
Continue reading

Are you a priority in your own life?

8 Jun

red shoes collage

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

When I attended the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women With Heart Disease at Mayo Clinic, cardiologist Dr. Sharonne Hayes (founder of the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic) told us about a 2000 study on women’s life priorities called “Hierarchy of Female Concerns” that asked its female participants this one question:

“What is most important to you?”

Now, when I do presentations about women’s heart health, I like to ask my audiences to guess in advance the correct order of this study’s top six answers, just for fun.

These rankings are surprising, in an amusing-yet-oddly-pathetic way.  The order of our reported priorities may also help to explain why, even when women are experiencing deadly heart attack symptoms, they will delay seeking treatment if something ‘more important’ crops up.

‘More important? What could possibly be more important when you’re having a heart attack? Check out the terrific film “Just a Little Heart Attack” for a great example of our treatment-seeking delay behaviour.

And then see if this list of women’s reported priorities matches the answers that you might give, too: keep reading…