Ahead of Canadian Heart Health Month, a doctor has a message for women.
“This is the number one killer of women,” said Dr. Tara Sedlak, Vancouver General Hospital cardiologist, about heart health.
“I think a lot of people think that its breast cancer and other cancers but, actually heart disease and stroke is the number one killer.”
Dr. Sedlak is a leader in women’s heart health in Canada. She is a Heart & Stroke researcher and is also the lead for the Her Heart & Brain Matters wear Red Day event on Feb. 13.
“There are many differences between men’s and women’s hearts. The first is, in general, most women and men who have a heart attack for example they present with chest pain. That still is the most common symptom but, women can have other symptoms. They can have symptoms up into the jaw, down the arms, shortness of breath and sweating,” said Dr. Sedlak.
These lesser-known symptoms and other cardiovascular diseases affect one out of three Canadian women. According to the Canadian Women’s Health Alliance, 80 per cent of the risk factors can be managed by getting the message out there.
In years past, this was done at events around the province and in the Okanagan such as the Red Dress Gala, but this year a new online fundraising event is being held in its place.
Jennifer Monaghan will be sharing her story at the online fundraiser.
“Nine years ago I had a stroke and when they were looking into what that happened. They discovered that I also have something called cardiomyopathy, which means my heart is not able to pump enough blood and oxygen through my body,” said Monaghan.
In honour of the BC Her Heart and Brain Matters event on Feb. 13, the City of Kelowna has proclaimed the day as Wear Red Day.
The online event is one of many that can be expected in the future after the Heart & Stroke Foundation was forced to close several offices including the one in Kelowna due to COVID-19.