Wear Red Canada Day: Raising awareness of women’s heart health

By CityNews Ottawa

More than 70 per cent of heart health research has been done on men. As such, heart disease is mostly associated with men – a fact the Canadian Women's Heart Health Alliance wants to change on Wear Red Canada Day.

Every Feb. 13 for the last five years, the Canadian Women's Heart Health Alliance has celebrated Wear Red Canada Day to raise awareness of heart disease among women.

Dr. Kerri-Anne Mullen, director of the Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa, told The Sam Laprade Show that despite men being at a higher risk of heart disease earlier in life, heart disease is still a major issue for women.

“Heart disease is on the rise, especially among young women.” said Mullen. “It's the leading cause of death for women worldwide and the leading cause of hospitalization for women and in our country.”

Mullen said certain conditions such as infertility, premature birth, diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy can put women at a greater risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease.

Women are also less likely to seek treatment. According to Mullen, heart attack symptoms go unrecognized in 50 per cent of women. Symptoms vary widely for women, making diagnosis more difficult.

“And there's research showing that because of this delay in getting treatment, in some cases, unfortunately, women might be further along or progressed in terms of the damage that a heart attack may have caused,” said Mullen.

Wear Red Canada Day hopes to inspire women to think about heart disease and be proactive in managing their heart health and wellness. Ultimately, the campaign looks to re-frame cardiovascular disease as something that primarily effects men to something everyone should be conscious of.

Learn more about Wear Red Canada Day and how to support women's heart health at wearredcanadaday.ca.

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Kerri-Anne Mullen on The Sam Laprade Show below.

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