In this interview, board-certified cardiologist Dr. Aarush Manchanda discusses the shock deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and what women can learn from this.
The interviewer opens by asking Dr. Manchanda whether the rumor that Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart is possible. He explains that there is such a thing as Broken Heart Syndrome, and this is something he covers in his latest book.
Dying of a broken heart has been something we’ve heard of for many years, but researchers are now linking the cause of this phenomenon to adrenaline and stress. When this happens, the heart acts like it’s having a heart attack without actually having an artery blockage, and this stress causes it to suddenly shut down. This means there’s no blood flow, so the blood starts to clot. And when a clot escapes the heart and goes to the brain it can cause a fatal stroke.
Which Women Are at Risk of Heart Attacks?
Carrie Fisher suffered a massive heart attack on a plane. And at 60-years-old, she was relatively young. She did have a history of drug problems, but other than that, she had no underlying problems.
Dr. Manchanda explains that this is what’s tricky about heart disease because even though doctors are dealing with probabilistic theories, they’re also dealing with a herd of people. For example, you can’t take a sample of 100,000 people and say that those who smoke, have high blood pressure, have a family history of strokes, have diabetes, or are inactive are going to have a heart attack. You can’t pinpoint exactly which person will have the heart attack. It’s all chance – we can’t know who’s next.
The Importance of Precision Medicine in Preventing Heart Attacks
Dr. Manchanda hopes that people will get together to further enhance precision medicine. This enables doctors to become more precise, accurately predicting who is going to suffer from a heart attack so they can act quickly. And with 1 in 3 women suffering from heart disease, this number one killer needs combatting.
Dr. Manchanda finishes by explaining what the different warning signs are for women who are suffering from heart attacks. These can be atypical symptoms such as
• shortness of breath
• pain or discomfort in the chest, left arm, or jaw
• pain radiating through their back
Any sudden pains or discomfort in the heart or stomach area could be a sign of a heart attack, which is why women need to be vigilant of these.
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