A vision of women’s heart health

Women’s hearts are victims of a system that is ill-equipped to diagnose, treat, and support them. 

The Heart & Stroke Foundation releases their 2018 Heart Report to unveil the differences between men and women’s heart health. 

Too many women are unnecessarily suffering and dying from heart disease. They have been left behind because they are under-researched, under-diagnosed, under-treated, and under-supported during recovery. It is shocking that we are only beginning to understand women’s hearts, and that gains in knowledge are so slow to reach the bedside. 

What we do know highlights a stark reality: 

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada (dying before reaching their expected lifespan).
  • Early heart attack signs were missed in 78% of women. 
  • Every 20 minutes a woman in Canada dies from heart disease. 
  • Five times as many women die from heart disease as breast cancer.
  • Two-thirds of heart disease clinical research focuses on men. 
  • Women who have a heart attack are more likely to die or suffer a second heart attack compared to men. 
  • The Heart & Stroke 2018 Heart Report focuses on why we still struggle to untangle and apply new knowledge about women and heart disease, and why some women—Indigenous women, ethnically diverse women, women living in poverty, and women in remote and rural locations—often face even greater inequities. 

How women can effect change
Do you tend to look after everyone else before you take care of yourself? In order to take charge of your own heart health:

  • Take a few minutes to learn about your own risks.
  • Trust your instincts. If something concerns you, tell your doctor. 
  • Learn the signs of heart attack so that you can get help fast. 

The Heart & Stroke Foundation has made it easy for you to assess your risks and talk to your doctor about your concerns. Download an informative guide on how to begin the conversation with your doctor

The vision for women’s heart health
Heart & Stoke is committed to closing these gaps so we better understand why heart disease affects women so profoundly. Download the 2018 Heart Report to learn more, and visit www.heartandstroke.ca. 

—Jennifer Randall Nelson 
Manager, Communications, Heart & Stroke

This posting has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.

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