Squishing, burning and implanting your heart troubles away

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by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Like the eminently quotable cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola once wrote on one of my favourite heart blogs:

“We urge patients to eat less, exercise more, and not to smoke. But when they don’t do these things, we still squish their blockages, burn their rogue electrical circuits, and implant lifesaving devices in their hearts.”

As a heart attack survivor, one of the Big Lessons for me has been that although my doctors can “squish, burn and implant” all they like, their heroic efforts do not address what originally caused this damage to my coronary arteries in the first place.   Continue reading “Squishing, burning and implanting your heart troubles away”

‘Gaslighting’ – or, why women are just too darned emotional during their heart attacks

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

I came across the term gaslighting the other day, and I immediately grasped its practical application to everyday life. (Very similar reaction, in fact, to first hearing the word mansplaining!) But I digress. The concept of gaslighting may ring bells for any woman who has been misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack, patted on the head and sent home from the E.R. in abject embarrassment. Continue reading “‘Gaslighting’ – or, why women are just too darned emotional during their heart attacks”

“I started vomiting, and it turned out to be a heart attack”


Maxine Levy was a heart attack survivor at age 41. Now in excellent health, this bank executive from Springfield, New Jersey credits her angioplasty, medication and, most of all, her healthy lifestyle and commitment to regular exercise to living well with heart disease.

She tells women to be strong. If you feel you are having a heart attack, be your own advocate, as she illustrates in this video interview.  She also says: Continue reading ““I started vomiting, and it turned out to be a heart attack””

Getting help during a heart attack: ‘delayers’ vs ‘survivors’

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

If you thought you were having a heart attack, would part of you worry about being embarrassed if it turned out your symptoms weren’t that serious after all? Would you dread the attention of an ambulance coming to your home?  If so, you might be considered a “delayer”.

On the other hand, would you likely call 911 immediately because you believe that embarrassment passes quickly and without long-term damage, while a heart attack does not? If so, you’d be considered a “survivor”.

Check this chart to see which category you belong in – and then take whatever steps are required to move yourself immediately from delaying to surviving.   Continue reading “Getting help during a heart attack: ‘delayers’ vs ‘survivors’”

Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?

Over the past decade, studies have suggested that almost twice as many women are now aware that heart disease is our leading cause of death. But awareness of this fact is still disturbingly low. For example, when cardiologist Dr. Lori Mosca of Columbia University Medical Center surveyed 2,300 women to measure their awareness of heart disease risk and to evaluate awareness trends since 1997, her results showed:

  • although awareness of heart disease has improved since 1997, one-third of women are still unaware that it is the leading cause of death in females
  • many women continue to believe that unproven therapies will reduce their heart disease risk
  • only about one-half of women said they would call 911 if they thought they were having symptoms of a heart attack, which Mosca said was “incredibly discouraging.” Continue reading “Heart disease: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – or have you?”