DiversityNursing Blog

Younger Women Hesitate To Say They're Having A Heart Attack

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 11:41 AM

MAANVI SINGH

womens hearts custom e69e9b67b04a384617b518a769c9f2e8014d12e2 s800 c85 resized 600

Each year more than 15,000 women under the age of 55 die of heart disease in the United States. And younger women are twice as likely to die after being hospitalized for a heart attack as men in the same age group.

It doesn't help that women tend to delay seeking emergency care for symptoms of a heart attack such as pain and dizziness, says Judith Lichtman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. "We've known that for a while," she says.

In a small study published Tuesday in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Lichtman and her colleagues looked into why women delay getting help. The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 30 women, ages 30 to 55, who had been hospitalized after a heart attack.

It turned out that many had trouble recognizing that they were having symptoms of a heart attack. "A lot of them talk about not really experiencing the Hollywood heart attack," Lichtman tells Shots.

A heart attack doesn't necessarily feel like a sudden painful episode that ends in collapse, she notes. And women are more likely than men to experience vague symptoms like nausea or pain down their arms.

"Women may experience a combination of things they don't always associate with a heart attack," Lichtman says. "Maybe we need to do a better job of explaining and describing to the public what a heart attack looks and feels like."

But even when women suspected that they were having a heart attack, many said they were hesitant to bring it up because they didn't want to look like hypochondriacs.

"We need to do a better job of empowering women to share their concerns and symptoms," Lichtman says.

And medical professionals may need to do a better job of listening, she adds. Several women reported that their doctors initially misdiagnosed the pain, assuming that the women were suffering from acid reflux or gas.

Doctors should pay special attention to women who have high blood pressure or cholesterol, as well as those with a family history of heart disease, Lichtman says.

This is just a preliminary study. Lichtman has already started working on a much larger study investigating why women have a higher risk of dying from heart disease than men.

But the findings aren't too surprising, says Dr. Nisha Parikh, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco who wasn't involved in the research.

"I take care of young women who have heart disease, and this story is very common," she says.

Part of the issue is that most of the research on heart disease has focused on men, since the condition is more common among men. As a result, the diagnostic tools that doctors use to identify heart disease aren't always well suited for female patients.

Cardiologists are just beginning to rethink how to best recognize and treat heart attacks in women, Parikh notes.

Heart disease is the third leading cause of death for women ages 35 to 44, and it's the second leading cause of death for women 45 to 54, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Cancer is the No. 1 cause.)

"Historically we thought of heart disease as sort of a man's disease," Parikh says. "But that's not the case."

This study also highlights the importance of empowering women to speak up about their worries, says. Dr. Jennifer Tremmel, a cardiologist at Stanford University.

"It's interesting because the whole idea of female hysteria dates back to ancient times," Tremmel says. "This is an ongoing issue in the medical field, and we all have to empower women patients, so they know that they need to not be so worried about going to the hospital if they're afraid there's something wrong."

Source: www.npr.org

Topics: women, heart attack, emergency, heart disease, heart, health, nurse, nurses, doctors, health care, patients, hospital, young women, heart health

Did An Irregular Heartbeat Help Make Beethoven a Music Legend?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:45 PM

By: ActiveBeat Author

318x400xshutterstock 229540372 318x400.jpg.pagespeed.ic.2bz7tPUhHJptWyJG A7c resized 600

Several researchers believe that a significant heart problem could represent a critical factor in determining Ludwig van Beethoven’s success in music.

Many people are aware that, when he died in 1827, Beethoven was deaf. But he also struggled with a serious heart condition known as arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. (It’s also worth noting that experts suspect Beethoven was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, lead poisoning, and syphilis when he passed away.)

Joel D. Howell, an internal medicine specialist, says he believes this irregular heartbeat can be detected in Beethoven’s work. “When your heart beats irregularly from heart disease, it does so in some predictable patterns,” Howell says. “We think we hear some of those patterns in his music.”

The researchers also point to Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major (Opus 130), which they say features “a short paroxysm of atrial tachyarrhythmia.” Beethoven even wrote that the song should be played with a “heavy heart”.

Howell and the other researchers recognize that their findings will encounter skepticism. However, they feel that, “in highly charged passages of certain pieces, the possibility of cardiac arrhythmia can lend a quite physical aspect to one’s interpretation of the music in question. These passages can seem, in an unexpected literal sense, to be heartfelt.”

Source: www.activebeat.com

Topics: music, researchers, deaf, heart disease, Beethoven, heart, heart beat

AtlantiCare RN develops smart phone app to help heart disease patients

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 01:44 PM

Shannon Patel, RN, BA, CCRN, CMC, PCCN, manager of the heart failure program at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Galloway, N.J., and an RN-to-BSN student at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden (N.J.), led a team at the hospital’s Heart Institute that developed a new smart phone app that helps patients manage heart disease and stay out of the hospital.

The WOW ME 2000mg app helps patients, caregivers and family members identify and manage symptoms of heart failure, according to the release.

describe the image

"This tool was designed to cross the healthcare continuum and has allowed our organization to deliver very important self-management education," Patel said in the release.

The WOW ME 2000mg app reminds patients to weigh themselves; measure their output of fluids; walk and be active; take their medications; evaluate signs and symptoms; and limit sodium intake to 2,000 mg or less, with 1,500 mg being optimal. The app prompts users with reminders and allows them to enter information about how they are managing their symptoms. It also links them with AtlantiCare’s Heart Failure Resource Team and other providers. Patel said in the release that many heart failure programs around the country are struggling to find ways to successfully teach heart failure self-management techniques. She said there is no standardized approach to reinforcement of the information taught to patients and that oftentimes patients receive differing and conflicting information depending on where they go for treatment.

"This tool standardizes heart failure self-management for patients," Patel said in the release.

The app is based on a reference guide Patel developed with AtlantiCare’s Heart Failure Resource Center and information technology team in 2010. It was released as a free downloadable iPhone app in January 2013. The team currently is developing the app for Android users. 

Patel said in the release that the AtlantiCare team also is working on an upgraded version that will include a blood pressure tracker and heart rate tracker, as well as a place for patients to track their personal health goals. She said heart disease is a manageable condition and arming patients with the best information will help them be engaged in their care.

Download the free app at www.apple.com/itunes

Source: Nurse.com

Topics: heart disease, AtlantiCare, healthcare, RN, iphone, app

Click me

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Posts by Topic

see all