Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘heart attack

Period pain is officially as bad as a heart attack

Why have doctors ignored it? The answer is simple

Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain.

For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes

John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, revealed this week that research shows period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack”. He said: “Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.”

Dr Imogen Shaw, a GP specialising in women’s healthcare, welcomed his comments, saying: “I wouldn’t say [period pain] has been hugely investigated,” and when asked if the issue would be taken more seriously if men experienced it, said: “I suspect there would be, being very cynical.” 

It is extraordinary how little the medical profession engages with menstruation.

Although recent years have seen period taboos broken through social media campaigns, this has yet to permeate medical discourse – and periods are seldom given serious medical consideration in research.

Scant research has been conducted on specific pain prevention or pain relief and devices such as tampons, moon-cups and sanitary towels remain rudimentary.

It’s not only women’s period pain which is taken less seriously, either – ignoring women’s pain is a concerning practise across medicine. Recent research has shown that women’s pain is taken much less seriously by doctors generally.

(Supposedly that women are more exposed and trained to endure pains?)

Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain. For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes, while men are listened to and believed when they express the same pain and symptoms.

Indeed, the word ‘hysterical’, itself stems from hystericus, meaning ‘of the womb’, indelibly linking how society has linked wombs with overreaction, incredibility and instability.

The great historians of the world have been mostly silent on the issue of menstruation. Period pain has long been restricted to whispered exchanges between mothers, daughters, sisters and female friends, rather than worthy of polite conversation, never mind the annals of history or intellectual debate.

However, menstrual blood occasionally seeps through history’s pages, and its rare appearances reveal something telling.

For Aristotle, period blood was the elixir of life which mingled with sperm to produce babies, making it at once an unnatural horror and the natural proof of woman’s innate inferiority, leading him to conclude, “we should look upon the female state as being as it were a deformity, though one which occurs in the ordinary course of nature.”

The Old Testament offers a similar mixture of sanctimonious horror and boyish fascination at the gore of menstruation in a flamboyant Leviticus passage which advocates that menstruating women be excluded from society for 7 days, until “on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles or young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.”

(Stupid Old Testament)

In the eighteenth century, fads for astronomy brought a new element to medical discussions on menstruation. As one of King George II’s physicians, Richard Mead, pronounced: “Everyone knows how great a share the moon has in forwarding those evacuations of the female sex.”

Since these men’s pronouncements, basic research has established the link between monthly blood and the shedding of the lining of the womb.

But beyond this, precious little engagement with menstruation has entered medical discourse.

Despite affecting women and trans men around the world for days every month, the pain involved in menstruation is seldom questioned nor are serious attempts to alleviate it mentioned.

This is largely because menstruation is presented as ‘Woman’s Troubles’, and framed as a natural pain innate to women; almost a holy, mystical suffering like childbirth.

It’s as if to ask for relief is to be less of a woman, or to give up the pretence of women being silent, stoic receptacles of reproduction.

To demand medical discourse, aid or intervention in the form of pain relief would be giving up the deeply gendered game of keeping quiet, pursing your lips and simply hugging the hot water bottle tighter against your abdomen.

While it’s a relief that Aristotle and the Old Testament’s pronouncements on periods are no longer considered the height of knowledge on the issue, the medical profession’s engagement with menstruation still leaves a lot to be desired.

Menstruation may no longer be the taboo that it once was, but it’s still not considered a respectable enough issue to warrant serious scientific consideration.

Women will suffer because of this, every month, until it is.


Are you not having an Anxiety Attack? Maybe you are not pay attention while driving?

I’m having an anxiety attack in Beirut.

I know I’m having an anxiety attack because I thought I was having a heart attack but when I googled my symptoms it said I was having anxiety instead.

It occurred to me that Beirut is probably the best place on earth to have an anxiety attack because there are so many reasons to be anxious.

Elsewhere, you might say, “Oh I’m freaking out,” and people will look at you with pity in their eyes and laughter in their heads.

“There, there,” they’ll say. “The dog next door isn’t plotting to attack you in your sleep.”

Here, the attitude about anxiety is more along the lines of: well, it’s about time you had some anxiety, ya 3ayne (my eye), I was worried you were dead there for a second.

Just in case you’re in the mood to have an anxiety attack, I’ve compiled a list of questions for us all to think about.

1. Do you see any trees outside?

2. Do you think that one tree is enough to offset all the pollution from even one car?

3. Is that car about to hit you?

4. Do you hear that cat meowing? Do you realize it’s stuck in the motor of a car?

5. Do you see the men building that high-rise over there?

6. Is there a giant piece of plaster about to fall on your head?

7. Can you even hear what I’m saying over all the noise of the construction jackhammering?

8. Is your building going to collapse today?

9. How much money do you make?

10. How much does a chai latte at Urbanista cost?

11. How often do you drink a chai latte at Urbanista?

12. Can you spare a measly $3 to help out some poor refugee mother who needs to buy her child some food and powdered milk?

13. Really? That’s interesting, because it looks like you just walked out of Urbanista, where you spent $10 on one coffee.

14. Have you gained weight?

15. How many calories do you think are in this salad?

16. Did you read the story about the cancer-causing pesticides they’ve been using?

17. Have you paid off your generator mafia lately?

18. Do you need a nose job?

19. Are you sure? What is the aesthetic  job alteration most on your mind?

20. If you have a nose job already, do you think that it will make your face look lopsided as you get older?

21. Do you think the silicone in your boobs is going to explode?

22. Do you think everyone is talking about you?

23. Have you met any nice guys lately?

24. What if you’re gay after all?

25. What if you’re straight after all?

26. What if you die alone anyway?

27. Do you remember taking a math test at university that you didn’t study for, and as you were taking it realized that you were going to fail miserably? What if that’s what the afterlife is like?

28. What if the afterlife is a place where they replay every embarrassing moment from your life over and over again into eternity?

29. Are you racist?

30. Is Israel going to attack us this week? Are Daesh about to infiltrate Ersal today?

31. How is that ISIS caliphate coming along?

Paradoxically, the threat of war has this beautifully simplifying effect on life: All your other concerns – the pollution, the fact that you’re not giving money to refugees – get swept aside when you start wondering if the Israelis are going to bomb Beirut, or if that whole ISIS caliphate thing is ever going to really take off.

It’s like being a junkie.

It must be why politicians enjoy keeping people in an eternal state of fear and anxiety in the first place.


Patsy Z and Jeanine Fakhoury  shared this April 9, 2015

Just in case you’re in the mood to have an anxiety attack, I’ve compiled a list of questions for us all to think about.

“Is that car about to hit you?”

I’m having an anxiety attack in Beirut.
I know I’m having an anxiety attack because I thought I was having a heart attack but when I googled my symptoms it said I was…

Heart Attack? Your Smart Phone Might Just Save Your Life

Many of us regularly use technology to simplify lives. Our smart phones allow us to check email, text our friends, and do very important work on Facebook and Twitter.

Did you know that your cell phone could save your life? I’ll tell you how.

Bechara Choucair, M.D. and Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health, posted this Feb. 15, 2013:

A few facts straight from the CDC.

1. Every year, 935,000 Americans have a heart attack.

2. Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women in America, accounting for roughly one in four deaths.

3. And on average, 5,500 Chicagoans die of heart disease each year.

The Million Hearts Campaign was launched in 2012 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

The HHS put out a call to developers seeking a mobile application to help people track their cardiac health status.

The best app would “help consumers take a heart health risk assessment, find places to get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and use the results to work with their health care providers to develop a plan to improve their health“.

The competition was fierce with developers from far and wide throwing their hat in the ring.

After a rigorous evaluation period, the winner was chosen. Heart Health Mobile, an iPhone app, was created by the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (you can download the app here for FREE).

The app is incredibly simple to use. You can get a good assessment of your heart risk in about 1 minute, with a list of area clinics to call for follow-up care.

The pilot campaign for the Heart Health Mobile app is launching in five cities this month: Chicago, Baltimore, Tulsa, Philadelphia, and San Diego.

Download the app for free and take responsibility for your Heart Health today!

Don’t forget to let me know what you think. You can always Tweet @ChiPublicHealth with feedback as well.

For more by Bechara Choucair, click here.

For more on heart disease, click here.

Is it the less information the better in critical split-second decision cases?

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago)

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago) on West Harriston Street, close to downtown, was built at the turn of last century. I was home of the world’s first blood bank, cobalt-beam therapy, surgeons attaching severed fingers, famous trauma center for gangs’ gunshot wounds and injuries…and most famous for the TV series ER, and George Cluny

In the mid 90’s. the ER welcomed 250,000 patients a year, mostly homeless and health non-insured patients… Smart patients would come the first thing in the morning to the ER and pack a lunch and a dinner.  Long lines crowded the walls of the cavernous corridors…

There were no air-conditioners: During the summer heat waves, the heat index inside the hospital reached 120 degrees. An administrator didn’t last 8 seconds in the middle of one of the wards.

There were no private rooms and patients were separated by plywood dividers.

There were no cafeteria or private phones: The single public phone was at the end of the hall.

One bathroom served all that crowd of patients.

There was a single light switch: You wanted to light a room and the entire hospital had to light up…

The big air fans, the radios and TV that patients brought with them (to keep company), the nurses’ bell buzzing non-stop and no free nurses around… rendered the ER a crazy place to treat emergency cases

Asthma cases were numerous: Chicago was the world worst in patients suffering from asthma…

Protocols had to be created to efficiently treat asthma cases, chest pain cases, homeless patients…

About 30 patients a day converged to the ER complaining of chest pains (potential heart attack worries) and there were only 20 beds in two wards for these cases.

It cost $2,000 a night per bed for serious intensive care, and about $1,000 for the lesser care (nurses instead of cardiologists tending to the chest pain patient…)

A third ward was created as observation unit for half a day patients.  Was there any rational protocol to decide in which ward the chest-pain patient should be allocated to? It was the attending physician call, and most of the decisions were wrong, except for the most obvious heart attack cases…

In the 70’s, cardiologist Lee Goldman borrowed the statistical rules of a group of mathematicians for telling apart subatomic particles. Goldman fed a computer data of hundreds of files of heart attack cases and crunched the numbers into a “predictive equation” or model.

Four key risk factors emerged as the most critical telltale of a real heart attack case:

1. ECG (the ancient electrocardiogram graph) showing acute ischemia

2. unstable angina pain

3, fluid in the lungs

4. systolic blood pressure under 100…

A decision tree was fine-tuned to decide on serious cases. For example:

1. ECG is normal but at least two key risk factors are positive

2. ECG is abnormal with at leat one risk factor positive…These kinds of decision trees…

The trouble was that physicians insisted on letting discriminating factors muddle their decisions. For example, statistics had shown that “normally” females do not suffer heart attack until old age, and thus a young female might be sent home (and die the same night) more often than middle-aged black or older white males patients…

Brendan Reilly, chairman of the hospital department of Medicine, decided to try Goldman decision tree.  Physicians were to try the tree and their own instincts for a period.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the Goldman algorithm…

It turned out that, if the physician was not bombarded with dozens of pieces of intelligence and just followed the decision tree, he was better off in the allocation to ward process…

For example, a nurse should record all the necessary information of the patients (smoker, age, gender, overweight, job stress, physical activities, high blood pressure, blood sugar content, family history for heart attacks, sweating tendencies, prior heart surgeries,…), but the attending physician must receive quickly the results of the 4 key risk factors to decide on…

Basically, the physician could allocate the patient to the proper ward without even seeing the individual and be influenced by extraneous pieces of intelligence that are not serious today, but could be potential hazards later on or even tomorrow…

Mind you that in order to save on medical malpractice suits, physicians and nurses treating a patient must Not send the patient any signals that can be captured as “contempt”, feeling invisible and insignificant

Many factors are potential predictors for heart attack cases, but they are minor today, for quick decisions…

No need to overwhelm with irrelevant information at critical time.  Analytic reasoning and snap judgment are neither good or bad: Either method is bad at the inappropriate circumstances.

In the “battle field” the less the information coming in, the less the communication streams and the better the rapid cognition decisions of field commanders…

All you need to know is the “forecast” and not the numbers of temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure…

Note: post inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell




March 2023

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