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Carolyn Thomas

Location: Victoria, BC CA
Website: http://www.myheartsisters.org


Like a frighteningly high number of women, I was sent home from the Emergency Department at my local hospital with a misdiagnosis of "acid reflux" - despite presenting with textbook heart attack symptoms like crushing chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radadiating down my left arm. Two weeks of debilitating and worsening symptoms followed before I finally returned to Emergency, this time a revised new diagnosis of "significant heart disease". Five months later, I became the first Canadian ever invited to attend the WomenHeart Symposium at Mayo Clinic. This five-day symposium was part world-class cardiology lectures - and part community activism bootcamp! What we learned at Mayo was shocking: - heart disease is the #1 killer of women - heart disease kills more women than men each year - heart disease kills six times more women each year than breast cancer does - in fact, heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined - research shows that, compared to men, women heart patients are under-diagnosed and under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed - virtually all cardiac research for the past 3-4 decades has been done either exclusively on men, or with women represented in statistically insignificant numbers, which is why many cardiac diagnostic tests that are fairly accurate for men are not accurate for women - 80% of heart disease is preventable Since returning home from Mayo Clinic, as my health allows, I've volunteered to do a number of presentations about women's cardiac risk factors, how to address those risks, and signs/symptoms of women's heart attacks. I've also launched 'HEART SISTERS', my blog about women and heart disease, at http://www.myheartsisters.org to help raise awareness of our #1 killer, and perhaps prevent what happened to me from happening to other women. Please visit my website and then forward its link to any other women you think would be interested in learning more about our biggest health threat.