Women and Heart Disease

Feb 22, 2017 | News

Health promotion encompasses healthy living, physical and mental wellbeing and is a key priority under the People strategy. Healthy staff result in better quality patient and resident experience.

Heart disease was once considered a “man’s disease”, but according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, “the face of heart disease is changing” and women are 7 times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.” 

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada however the heart and stroke foundation states, “many women are still unaware that they are at risk for heart disease and stroke.”

Common myths about women and heart disease from the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

Myth: Women in their 20’s & 30’s don’t need to worry about heart disease and only women close to menopause should be concerned.

Fact: Healthy habits and lifestyle choices made in 20’s & 30’s have an effect on your risk for heart disease. Women <65 who smoke increase their risk by 40% and studies have confirmed the relationship between oral birth control use combined with smoking increases your risk.

Myth: Nurturing and caring for family comes first and caring for your own health needs must wait.

Fact: Women are at higher risk than men of dying from their first heart attack and contributing factors are ignoring symptoms and not seeking medical attention sooner if you have symptoms.

Myth: Symptoms of a heart attack are different for men and women.

Fact: Mayo clinic states “women are more likely to have symptoms unrelated to chest pain ie. neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; pain in one or both arms; nausea or vomiting; sweating; dizziness or unusual fatigue…and symptoms can be subtle”.

Ladies, the face of heart disease and stroke has changed. Understanding your risk factors and how to avoid or manage heart disease is in your hands. Age, gender, family history & ethnicity are risk factors you cannot change, however you do have control over other risk factors. You can incorporate heart healthy behaviours into your work day. You can get active by going for a walk on your break or taking the stairs rather than the elevator, bring healthy snacks to work, drink more water, manage stress and add some suggested self-care strategies found on staffmentalhealth.providencehealth.org to your day. We do have time to care for ourselves and you can find additional tips on the Heart and Stroke website

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