Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

Now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Heart disease

is the NUMBER ONE killer of women.

screen-shot-2015-09-04-at-12-36-30-pm

Excerpt from HEART SISTERS Most Common Heart Attack Signs:

“These cardiac symptoms often come and go – sometimes over a surprisingly long period of time.  They’re not always severe. We may believe that heart attack chest pain must be described as “crushing”, but it’s often frequently described by women with words like pressure, heavy, burning, full or tight – not “crushing”.”

“Almost 40% of women experience NO CHEST PAIN at all during a heart attack.”

Read the full post here: http://myheartsisters.org/2015/09/20/most-common-heart-attack-signs/

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

P1010944

The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

“I don’t want to talk about it”

I should go out in the garden and eat worms.  I’m exhausted.  I hurt all over.   It’s hard not to have self-pity.   I TRY to limit my public and private kvetching because I know it doesn’t help . . . me or you.  There’s scientific basis for the harm we do to ourselves when we talk about trauma – any kind of trauma. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

 If you or anyone you know has a “story of pain” (physical, psychological, social, economic etc) read Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters excellent post.  Here’s a teeny taste:

Rehashing a traumatic story/event does some of the following:

  • puts our system on high alert
  • triggers inflammation
  • triggers the fight/flight response
  • triggers shutdown mode

On the flip side Carolyn talks about the benefits of sharing with close friends:

“Dr. Laura Cousin Klein and her team found that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “lovehormone”).  It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example, as well as during a woman’s stress response. It’s instinctual, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and it encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called our tend-and-befriend response to stress.  This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”

Read the entire post “I don’t want to talk about it“- a Judy’s-Must-Read-Blog-Post.

Heart Rescue

P1010944My father had quintuple bypass surgery in his 70’s.  Doctor’s said it was mainly due to his smoking since a teenager.  He quit in his 60’s but by then the damage was done.  I won’t even begin to recount how horrible the recovery was for him and our family.

On my Mother’s side of the family my Mother, my Aunt and Uncle all had arrhythmia’s and pacemakers.  

With this history I should have been more aware of heart disease but I really wasn’t UNTIL I needed a pacemaker.   Here’s  a scenario of a heart attack happening and what to do.  It will only take a few minutes of your time to give someone else a life time.

CLICK HERE to find out what you should do – http://www.heartrescuenow.com/

Click here for a site that lists the places you are most likely to locate an AED
Thanks Sharon for sharing this really important information

What Is an Automated External Defibrillator?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.

Overview

To understand how AEDs work, it helps to understand how the heart works.

The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.

Problems with the electrical system can cause abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs). During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body. These arrhythmias cause SCA.

  • The most common cause of SCA is an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation (v-fib). In v-fib, the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers) don’t beat normally. Instead, they quiver very rapidly and irregularly.
  • Another arrhythmia that can lead to SCA is ventricular tachycardia (TAK-ih-KAR-de-ah). This is a fast, regular beating of the ventricles that may last for only a few seconds or for much longer.
  • Ninety-five percent of people who have SCA die from it—most within minutes. Rapid treatment of SCA with an AED can be lifesaving.

In people who have either of these arrhythmias, an electric shock from an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on someone having SCA also can improve his or her chance of survival.

Footprint on my Heart

Footprint on mon coeur.

                 dis-ease of broken heart or

                                 evidence d’ amour?

I’ve “borrowed” again from Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters:

“This year, heart disease will kill six times more women than breast cancer will.  In fact, heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined.”

Watch this 3-minute film called “Just a Little Heart Attack” from the American Heart Association. It was originally brought to my attention by Carolyn Thomas.  Please share with others.

And READ THIS from Carolyn

“When other researchers reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at more than 10,000 patients (48% women) who had gone to their hospital Emergency Departments with chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, they found that women under the age of 55 are SEVEN TIMES more likely to be misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack than their male counterparts are.”

“And it gets worse! In 2005, the American Heart Association surveyed physicians in the U.S. to see how many were aware that more women than men die of heart disease each year (a statistic that’s been true since they started keeping track in 1984).

Only 8% of family doctors knew this fact, and (much worse!!) only 17% of CARDIOLOGISTS were aware of it. CARDIOLOGISTS! This is their business. This is all they do!! Shocking, really!”

Do check out Carolyn’s blog.  She does an amazing job keeping up with the latest news and research and information.  Here’s a sample of a funny post that may not be so funny:

Is My Bra Too Tight?

Dem Bones

I’ve not been blogging as frequently.  Did YOU NOTICE?  (Don’t tell me.  I actually don’t want to know!)
My saggy saga. . .
the medication that was controlling my atrial fibrillation. . .  caused the long q-t interval (life threatening). . .which necessitated Tallulah Pacehead to be implanted.  Tallulah  caused . . . my AV node to act up which activated light-headedness and propensity to pass out when exercising.  The great news is this is not life threatening.  The bad news is I’ve been poooooooooped.
So . . .
The doctor and I decided to titrate off the atrial fibrillation medication to see if some of the dominoes could be righted.  Wronged!  I’m back on the meds after having chest pain with every little move, wild blood pressure and constant arrhythmia.  Guess that medication has been working just fine!

The weird part is I couldn’t get these Dem Bone lyrics out of my head while all this was going on.  I don’t think I’ve heard this song since I was a child.  AND I had no idea, until now, that the gospel song was actually based on Ezekiel.

How great is this!?  
I wouldn’t have had the song play in my mind if all this hadn’t happened to me and I wouldn’t have googled it to see if I remembered it correctly and I wouldn’t have known the song was from the Bible and YOU wouldn’t be reminded of the Dem Bones song which will now play over and over in your mind which will lead you to heaven-knows-what . . .
Gospel Song Lyrics
James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)

E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The head-bone connected to the neck-bone,
the neck-bone connected to the back-bone
The backbone connected to the thigh-bone
the thighbone connected to the knee-bone
the knee bone connected to the leg bone
the leg bone connected to the foot bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord

Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!

5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath [a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.

13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”

Humph! The dear girl is losing it . . .