A Review of A Woman’s Heart…

Why Read this Book?

For the few men who brave MIP, you may think that reading a book about women’s cardiology is a waste of your time. Let me assure you that men could learn as much as their hearts as we women learn about ours if we all read A Woman’s Heart by Dr. Angela Maas. If you ask me, once you become an adult, everyone, everywhere, should read this book.

Since many cardiologists and doctors are not up-to-date on my weird heart condition, I have had to read more research about it than I care to mention. I’ve also learned a lot from my fellow vasospastic and microvascular disease compadres that are members of a Facebook group I help to moderate. Indeed, I now mentor some members who hail from a variety of countries because I’ve been dealing with this nutty condition for decades.

I’m not stating the above to  brag–I continue to be a student, and an ignorant one at that, on how this condition affects my body. But, it is becoming increasingly rare that I learn new information on it and much cardiovascular material does not pertain to my condition. So, when recommended to me, I was skeptical about it teaching me something new about the human heart. I only read it because people I respect with this condition were raving about it.

I now get it. Even as I read the first few pages, I was already learning a lot of new things about my heart! Thankfully, Dr. Maas, a world-renown cardiologist, has written this book in lay language that even I can understand. When reading cardiology research, I often have to look up their four-page long medical terms. And when a lay term won’t do, Dr. Maas carefully and clearly defines that medical term for me.

What I Liked and Didn’t Like about A Woman’s Heart

Since Dr. Maas is from the Netherlands, the English version is in UK English. Thus, one minor irritation is that my version of English doesn’t always jive with her translator’s version. But, I can tolerate that, particularly for learning information that may help my cardiologist care for me better.

Just to give you a sample, here are a few facts that surprised me:

  1. It wasn’t until 1991 that heart researchers started factoring gender into their research. Thus, few women participated in heart research prior to 1991.
  2. A woman’s heart is smaller than a man’s and if transplanted into a male, that heart is more likely to fail than a man’s heart transplanted into a woman.
  3. Women historically didn’t have many heart attacks because most died while giving birth or died before age 40.
  4. Women were blamed for their husbands’ heart attacks until 1980.
  5. Until recently researchers believed that estrogen protected women from heart attacks. Thus, researchers gave 8000 men estrogen to see if that would also protect their hearts. They stopped the trial before its completion: The estrogen-treated men died left and right.
  6. EKGs, echocardiograms, and other standard heart health diagnostic tools are primarily based on the typical pattern of male cardiac symptoms.
  7. Women’s heart symptoms are vastly different and are often dismissed as anxiety because EKGs and echocardiograms miss their heart attacks.
  8. Pregnancy is actually a stress test for a woman’s cardac health. Thus, if you had high blood pressure, etc. during pregnancy, it’s time to get busy working on improving your heart health.
  9. Women tend, on average, to have heart attacks earlier than men when they reach middle age and older.
  10. Chronic stress in women leads to an inflammatory response in their bodies. That inflammatory response leads to athlerosclerosis in their coronary arteries.


I think I ran out of ink in 2 pens highlighting and starring this book. And I have a lot of questions for my very astute cardiologist in Cleveland when I go to see him in the fall that I would not have known to ask if I hadn’t read Dr. Maas’ book. It makes sense–she was only knighted by her king for her work in this field.

I could go on and on about things one should know from this book, but that would be a waste of your time. What would be better? Get a copy of this book, one way or another, and start reading it, particularly if you’re a woman or about to be one. What would be better than that? Give A Woman’s Heart to another woman. You could be saving your life and theirs.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Heart Spasms, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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