Women are more likely to develop heart disease than men

In Canada, the cardiovascular illnesses are the leading causes of premature death in women. They explain five times more the female mortality than breast cancer. According to Colleen Norris, a professor in the Faculty of Nursing, women continue to be underdiagnosed compared to men. As a result, they are not treated enough. Women receive little support and their cases are less studied.

Researchers believe that heart attack causes and risk factors are very different between men and women. Also, some of the risks for women can occur at an unexpected age. The distinction thus lies in cardiovascular disease treatments and outcomes.

Ms. Norris co-chairs the Prairie Task Force of the Canadian Alliance for women’s heart health. Her team educates women and health professionals during the Wearing Red Day.

Signs that should alert you

Research conducted by Ms Norris between 2010 and 2020 found that an average of 300 women a year were underdiagnosed. From signs of heart attack or stroke drove them to hospital emergency departments, but they returned home undiagnosed. However, they return there with a real heart attack after a month.

Women should know the warning signs following:

  • A sudden change in breathing;
  • Chest pain or discomfort;
  • Acute pain in the upper part of the body;
  • Cold sweats;
  • Sudden or unusual tiredness;
  • Unexplained nausea;
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath.

What can we do ?

The knowledge of personal risks constitutes the most important intervention.

“Identifying women at risk early in life means that it is possible to modify that risk. »

Professor Norris

It is possible to find out about the tests necessary for risk assessment from a health care provider. Blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight are indicators that need to be tracked and compared to the norm.

In addition, regular exercises, a healthy diet, stress management, reducing alcohol consumption help to reduce the risks. Reducing tobacco consumption also contributes to cardiovascular disease prevention.

In the event that a heart attack happen to you, here is what the expert advises you:

  • Clearly explain to the treating staff that your symptoms are not normal for you;
  • Insist on getting a electrocardiogram and blood tests that can diagnose a heart attack;
  • Ask for interpretations of your blood pressure, electrocardiogram, and results of other tests;
  • Ask to see a doctor who specializes in heart problems.


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