An upcoming campaign aims to raise a red flag for women’s heart health.
Wear Red Canada Day, hosted by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, will be celebrated across the nation on Feb. 13, with hopes to bring awareness around heart disease in women. The date was proclaimed by both Victoria and Saanich, to share recognition of the event with residents.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide and the leading cause of premature death in Canadian women,” states the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) website.
“Globally, cardiovascular diseases affect 1 out of 3 women, yet women everywhere are under-studied, under-diagnosed, under-treated, and under-aware when it comes to their heart health.”
The CWHHC website highlights that heart disease affects women differently than men, which is why it can often be misdiagnosed, or left untreated. The website further explains that female hormones make arteries smaller, resulting in higher proneness to blockages, and that heart disease symptoms often express more vaguely in women, sometimes experienced as shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue. It also states that diagnostic testing is inconsistent, risk factors vary, and that “most women experience their first symptoms or heart attack after the age of 65,” but the buildup of plaque can begin in their 20s.
Emily Lerhe, a third year medical student at the Island Medical Program in Victoria, said the goal of Wear Red Canada Day is to improve the heart health of Canadian women of all ages. This is the third year the campaign will take place, and due to circumstances of the pandemic, events will take place virtually.
Hosted all across the country, the virtual sessions will be lead by health professionals, leaders, and women with lived experience, encouraging women to be conscious and proactive about their health.
“This event will hopefully educate women in the community, that a lot of heart disease is preventable through lifestyle modification,” said Lerhe, who is part of the West Regional Planning Committee for the Wear Red Canada Day. “It’s the small choices people make in a day, that make a big difference.”
From 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST, British Columbia will present ‘Her Hear and Brain Matters!’ but everyone is welcome to attend any of the sessions, regardless of location. There will also be a Women’s Heart Health Summit running from Feb. 10 to Feb. 13. online. For more information, and for those who wish to attend a virtual event, please visit the CWHHC website at cwhhc.ottawaheart.ca.
For further education visit heartandstroke.ca.
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