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What are we getting wrong when it comes to women's health?

Lindsay Dixon and hear health

Or maybe instead, I should ask – what are we getting right?

Just over a year ago I interviewed Carolyn Thomas, a heart attack survivor who now advocates for women’s heart health, after initially being wrongly diagnosed and dismissed by her local hospital.

This interview has just gone "vertical" in viewership. It's literally going straight up in my analytics with 41,000 views in the past several days and 88,000 total as of today.

More than the views, however, is the response. In the interview, Carolyn tells her story of how she ended up flying across the country with symptoms of a heart attack, all the while reassuring herself that this was just heartburn – and took her heartburn medication, as was prescribed by the ER physician.

Unable to walk herself out of the airport when arriving back home, Carolyn got a ride to the ER, insisted (once again) that something was wrong and finally received the attention she deserved. She was indeed having a heart attack.

It's an incredible story, and I honestly hope that every woman gets a chance to listen to her story.

What's more bothersome and heartbreaking, though, have been the comments. I've been scrolling through sometimes hundreds of comments/day this week of woman after woman telling their story of how they were dismissed by healthcare professionals, how their symptoms were often downplayed, and how appreciative they are of now feeling empowered by Carolyn's story to speak up for the care they know they need and deserve.

I know there is a lot that can be said about this. There is a lot we can criticize about the healthcare system and its various players.

If you have the courage, go onto the channel yourself and look for the comments underneath Carolyn's interview, you will be astonished at the response.

These are real people.

These are real women.

They are all sharing similar stories and experiences. It’s heartbreaking to hear these stories. We really need to do better.

I have questions:

  • As healthcare professionals, how can we help women to know and feel empowered when it comes to advocating for themselves?
  • How can we make healthcare professionals more aware of how a woman’s heart attack often presents differently from in men?
  • How can we ensure that women get the care that they deserve?

Something needs to change.

For every woman who survives a heart attack, many do not. What do you think the solution is? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Lindsay Dixon is a pharmacist, consultant, and health content creator. She is also the Founder of Friendly Pharmacy 5 & CreateRx. For collaborations or consulting services, please reach out: [email protected]

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