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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

After the Deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher : Women and Heart Disease

The shocking death of Carrie Fisher before the New Year, and the death of her mom, Debbie Reynolds, the day after, brings to the forefront the issue of women and heart disease.  Did you know that heart disease kills more American women annually than breast cancer and lung cancer combined?  And did you also know that heart disease kills six times as many women as breast cancer?  And yet, why doesn't heart disease get as much coverage in the media as female cancers?

In her new book Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story, accomplished cardiologist Dr Jacqueline Eubany explores the reasons for the disparity of awareness between heart disease in men and heart disease in women.  Heart disease has always been regarded as a male affliction. So often,  women die from heart disease because they are misdiagnosed or diagnosed so late that the heart is damaged beyond successful repair.

I myself was diagnosed with hypertension [high blood pressure] several years ago.  I must say that the diagnosis blindsided me; having lost my mother to breast cancer in 1995, my focus was always on annual mammography.  You see, it was my dad with the heart disease in my family; I figured that was a "man's disease".  But, thinking back to 1970, I remembered that my paternal grandmother died suddenly of a heart attack, despite the fact that it was always my paternal grandfather who had heart problems.  It seems that my grandfather was constantly monitored throughout his adult life, but when my grandmother had complained to her doctor of heart-related symptoms, she was ignored until it was too late.  My grandfather with decades of heart problems, survived grandma by a year, almost to the day.  Broken heart syndrome? Perhaps.  25 years later, a year after my mom died, my dad had his first heart attack at age 68.  Two-and-a-half decades after my grandfather's era, my dad had a stent put in; a few years later, they installed an internal pacemaker-defibrillator combo.

Why are women misdiagnosed, or diagnosed too late.  Sometimes, we women ourselves are to blame; ever the caregivers, we ourselves ignore minor symptoms of heart disease.  We are too busy taking care of others and can't take the time to check out what often seems to be digestive problems.  Symptoms of heart disease differ between men and women.  Dr. Eubany talks about the difference in symptoms, and the difference in how the medical profession has treated the sexes.  It's shocking how little the average American woman knows about heart disease and its symptoms. But ask about breast cancer, and most women can speak about  mammograms, breast self-exams, chemo and mastectomies.

Dr. Eubany provides specific advice  on the "silent" symptoms of heart disease; she offers expert tips on what women can do to keep their hearts healthy and reduce their risk of  becoming a statistic of the number one killer of women  in the U.S. This book is as enjoyable to read as it is informative and enlightening.  Dr. Eubany uses anecdotal evidence from real patients and jargon-free language.  Dr. Jacqueline Eubany is a board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist practicing in Orange County, California.  She attended the Boston University School of Medicine.  Additionally, she is a fellow in the prestigious American College of Cardiology and a member of the Heart Rhythm Society.

To purchase a copy of Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story from Amazon, just click
 the book's link toward the top of this page.
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