Women and Heart Disease: Ms. Understood!

February was Heart & Stroke Month and this year the focus was on women and heart disease. Did you know….

Women in Canada are unnecessarily suffering and dying from heart disease because of inequities and biases that have resulted in a system that is ill-equipped to diagnose, treat and support them. Heart & Stroke 2018 Report

So WHY is heart disease in women being overlooked?

First, most of our research related to heart disease has been done on men (2/3rd of it), and so assumptions have been made that men and women are physiologically similar, thus experience the same symptoms, and the same treatments work for both.

What we are realizing is that women and their hearts are different!

Research is slow and information dissemination is lacking. Our healthcare system needs to do more women-specific research and implement new evidence into practice.

Let’s get our GEEK on and first define heart disease.

To understand the disease, we must understand the function of a healthy heart.

Our heart is a muscle whose purpose is to pump oxygenated blood around the body. This process is incredibly intricate and complex – it’s amazing really!

Disease and illness are essentially anything that impedes the normal functioning of an organ or a system. So,

Heart Disease is any condition that affects the structure (vessels, heart structure, valves) and function (the pumping action of the muscle and electrical activity) of the heart.