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University of Ottawa using research toolkit to make sure women aren't left behind

It's Manager of the Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre says a heart attack in a woman is different from that suffered by a man.
2018-03-03 University of Ottawa1 MV
University of Ottawa logo, March 3, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

For decades, many women suffering from heart diseases have been under-diagnosed, untreated and understudied. 

Manager of the Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Malia Murphy and her team of scientists and researchers are working to change that.

She told 1310 NEWS' The Rick Gibbons Show, women have even been largely dismissed at the health care provider level because guidelines and recommendations for heart diseases have been developed using mostly male populations.

But women might have a-typical symptoms.

"So when we think of, for example, a heart attack, we think of that 'Hollywood' heart attack with the crushing pain, chest pain and radiating pain down the left side [of the body]," explained Murphy. "A woman, more commonly might present with symptoms such as nausea, sweating, even perhaps jaw pain, which perhaps the general public might not associate with the symptoms of a regular heart attack."

Listen to the full conversation with Malia Murphy:

Murphy added that women might also develop heart disease later than men, but the burden, in terms of mortality, is still significant.

She said the uOttawa Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre is focused on making sure its researchers and scientists take sex and gender-based differences into account in all aspects of their work, and that's why it has developed a toolkit for researchers to make sure their research is answering those questions.

Women's heart health was made a strategic priority by health care researchers at the university in 2013.

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