By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 16, 2019
Do you know where the word “hysterical” comes from?
Well, it’s actually from the Greek word hystera — which means uterus. So, anyone who is labeled hysterical is basically being blamed for having a uterus.
I’m sure some of you women are feeling a little angry after reading that.
And I don’t blame you.
In a medical world long dominated by men, anyone who was acting upset, angry, or irrational was deemed hysterical. In a way, they were blamed for being a woman.
Unfortunately, I still see remnants of this unfair treatment even today. More often than we’d like, women treated in ERs by young male doctors — guys in their 30’s and 40’s — have their concerns casually brushed off.
This is the biggest problem when it comes to heart attacks…
A study looked at 500,000 Florida emergency room visits from 1991 to 2010 and found that women were more likely to survive a heart attack if they were treated by another woman doctor.
Specifically, female patients treated by male doctors were 1.5 percent less likely to survive a heart attack when compared to men treated by female doctors.
To put this another way… if a heart attack patient is a woman and she has a male doctor, her risk of death suddenly rises by about 12 percent.
Then, in 2016, the American Heart Association found that – regardless of age – 26 percent of women will die within a year of a heart attack compared with just 19 percent of men.
And over the next five years, almost half of women heart attack victims will die compared to just 36 percent of the men.
So, what’s going on here?
Well, the symptoms of a heart attack in women can be subtle, especially if you’ve gone through menopause and have lowered levels of protective estrogen.
Yet, many women are told they are just having an “anxiety attack” and sent home without treatment.
That’s why it’s so important for women to recognize their own heart attack symptoms — so they can insist on treatment when doctors are saying, “No.”
Women don’t always experience the classic symptoms of men — such as shooting pains down the left arm and jaw. Instead, you might experience a strange new nausea or some shortness of breath with some mild discomfort.
Another set of symptoms has to do with a lack of oxygen flow. You might temporarily lose track of where you are or why you entered a room — caused by low blood flow to your brain. Or, your feet may be strangely cold.
A lot of these signs are a little cloudy. They don’t scream “classic heart attack” so they are often overlooked. But these are all signs something acute is going on.
You may be surprised to learn that women who are in menopause have the same rate of heart attacks as men of the same age. So, even vague discomfort and nausea could equal an inferior wall infarction… a heart attack.
And this is a really big problem. Currently, 1 in 3 women who die each year are claimed by heart disease.
So, when a 55 year old woman comes into the ER feeling slightly nauseated and stressed out, medics shouldn’t just chalk it up to mere “anxiety.”
A Quick Blood Draw Could Save Your Life
Any woman who is experiencing these symptoms needs to know what to do so their heart attack can be treated in time.
The solution is simple…
If you suspect you may be having a heart attack, ask the ER doctors to take your cardiac enzymes. Actually, don’t just ask… INSIST.
That’s all it takes!
It’s a simple blood test that will quickly show whether or not you’ve had a cardiac event. It works because when the cardiomyocytes die, they release an enzyme, which gets into the bloodstream and can be detected.
If the test comes back with normal levels of cardiac enzymes, you can go home. Elevated levels mean you need treatment.
Many times, doctors will jump right to the ECG machine. It’s a test to show whether the cardiac muscle was injured.
What people don’t understand is that an ECG only detects electrical pathways. So, unless you’ve had a big enough heart attack where the electrical pathway in your heart was messed up — making the lines squiggle the wrong way — you won’t know you had a heart attack.
So, if you suspect you’re having a heart attack, insist they do a cardiac enzyme test along with the ECG. It’s a simple test that just may save your life.
American Heart Association. “Acute Myocardial Infarction in Women: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association” https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/cir.0000000000000351?sid=beb5f268-4205-4e62-be8f-3caec4c4d9b7&
Chen, Angus. Women Die More from Heart Attacks Than Men—Unless the ER Doc Is Female. Scientific American. August 6, 2018. Accessed Online: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/women-die-more-from-heart-attacks-than-men-mdash-unless-the-er-doc-is-female/
Greenwood, Brad N. Et al. Patient–physician gender concordance and increased mortality among female heart attack patients. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2018, 115 (34) 8569-8574; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1800097115 Accessed online: https://www.pnas.org/content/115/34/8569
Online Etymology Dictionary. Hysterical (adj.) Online: https://www.etymonline.com/word/hysterical Accessed: 14Oct2019
Sadick, Barbara. Women Die From Heart Attacks More Often Than Men. Here’s Why — and What Doctors Are Doing About It. Time Magazine. April 1, 2019. Accessed Online: https://time.com/5499872/women-heart-disease/