Can denial ever be a good thing for heart patients?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

When my little green car started making a funny PING! noise recently, I tried to talk myself out of what I was hearing.  “I don’t think it’s quite as bad as it sounded yesterday . . .”  And when my heart attack symptoms became more and more debilitating, I tried to talk myself out of them, too.

And besides, hadn’t the E.R. doctor emphatically diagnosed those symptoms (central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain down my left arm) as merely acid reflux just two weeks earlier? In both cases, I guess I was being unrealistically hopeful. But as writer Margaret Weis once warned:

“Hope is the denial of reality.”

Denial has a bad name. To be “in denial” – whether it’s about a niggling noise coming from under the hood or about something as serious as a health crisis – is to be called foolhardy or just plain stubborn. But in some cases, according to Mayo Clinic expertsa little denial may actually be a good thing. Being in denial for a short period can even be a healthy coping mechanism, giving us time to adjust to a painful or stressful issue.   Continue reading “Can denial ever be a good thing for heart patients?”

Mayo Clinic: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack for women?”

by Carolyn Thomas @HeartSisters

It’s been in the news. It’s been presented at cardiology conferences.  It has set cardiac circles and women heart attack survivors abuzz. It’s the question of whether women present with heart attack symptoms that are different than those of men.  The media attention surrounding the claims of this study conclusion has put women’s awareness of heart disease back a decade, in my opinion.  Continue reading “Mayo Clinic: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack for women?””

Women missing the beat: are doctors ignoring women’s cardiac symptoms?

woman mirror

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

True or false?  Every year, more women die of heart disease than men.

The answer is true, but if you didn’t know it, you’re in good company. In a survey of 500 American doctors (100 cardiologists, 100 obstetrician/gynecologists, and 300 family practice physicians) led by cardiologist Dr. Lori Mosca, only 8% of family doctors knew this fact, but – even more astonishing – only 17% of cardiologists were aware of it.

When it comes to women and heart disease, ignorance can be deadly. The misconception that heart disease is mostly a ‘man’s disease’ is one reason that women continue to be misdiagnosed or receive delayed treatment when experiencing symptoms of heart disease.

De Lori MoscaDr. Mosca, Professor of Medicine and Director of Preventive Cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, explains that women patients often report that their complaints were dismissed or that they were “blown off” by their doctors when they presented with heart disease symptoms. Studies show that there is a gender bias out there that women need to be aware of.

” Our own research has shown that physicians are more likely to label a woman at lower risk for heart disease than a man with the same calculated level of heart disease risk.”  Continue reading “Women missing the beat: are doctors ignoring women’s cardiac symptoms?”

When I’m 64: aging and women’s heart disease

woman computer 3

“The frightening thing about middle age is knowing you’ll grow out of it.”  – Doris Day

WomenHeart, September 2009 – “These days, many women like hearing that 40 is the new 30, but recent studies point to declining life expectancy rates among women, as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure rates increase.

“Many women do know that they face significant heart health hurdles as they head into their golden years, but successfully navigating those challenges can be tricky for someone of any age. While women can still expect an average life expectancy of around 80 years of age, it’s no fun to spend those years in poor health.   Continue reading “When I’m 64: aging and women’s heart disease”