Newsflash: Women Have Hearts Too!

There have been many times in my life when, if it weren’t for black humor, there would be no humor at all. I firmly believe in the value and healing properties of a good laugh, so please allow me a little irreverence when it comes to this very serious problem — women and heart disease.

Just about the time I was in med school, which is now going a ways back, the medical community had a revelation. Hold onto your seats men. This may come as quite the shock. Women have hearts too!! I know. Crazy, right? Beneath all that breast tissue, which I suppose was very distracting to a mostly male profession, there is a muscle pumping blood through women’s arteries also. Turns out, it wasn’t just our girlish figures and gravity keeping life supporting oxygenated blood flowing to our vital organs, we have an actual, life-sized beating heart.

That’s not all. It gets better. Not only do we have a heart, it looks and acts just like a man’s heart! Really. I am not making this up. This is amazing stuff, truly revolutionary. It is a muscle, has coronary arteries, valves and chambers … just like a man’s! And, just like a man’s, it can become damaged and sick. It can beat out of rhythm, it’s vessels can become blocked, it’s valves can leak and it can become weak.

Of course, it is easy to understand why these problems were ignored for generations. Not only do we have all these female parts, hormones and fits of hysteria to confuse the issue, we represent such a small percentage of the population, our symptoms would be easy to miss. Oh wait. Actually we represent 51% of the population and have been suffering with heart disease for just as long as men. So, now I don’t understand why it took so f*cking long to realize women need to focus on heart health. I guess for all the same reasons it took society so long to realize women have working brains. The excuse has been women present with heart problems differently than men, as if we only came into existence 100 years ago and our anatomy is still an enigma. Why isn’t it that men present differently than women? Clearly, this is a source of contention for me, but as I just wrote a post about the futility of anger, I’m going to take a deep breath and focus on moving forward.

Ladies, heart disease is the biggest threat to our health. Learn more. Get involved.

Fast facts from the Valley Health System:

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women over the age of 25.
  • A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States.
  • One in three women will die of heart disease.

 

 READ: Know Your Numbers: New Survey Shows Many Americans are Unaware of Their Risk Factors for Heart Disease  by Benita Burke, MD, Medical Director, Heart Care for Women, Valley Medical Group

 


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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Physician, Wellness Coach, and founder of Tips From Town. She is passionate about sharing her medical expertise, her coaching techniques and her parenting experience to encourage happier and healthier lives.

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