About Women and Cardiovascular diseases
Traditional beliefs have often associated erroneously cardiovascular diseases as health problems to men only. Cardiovascular diseases are the most common causes of mortality of female Canadians. Women are at more risks to die from cardiovascular diseases than any other disease (38% of mortality in female Canadians compared to 36% of mortality in male Canadians). This is why prevention and awareness of cardiovascular diseases should remain priorities for Canadian women.
Often, signs of a heart attack go unobserved among women who attribute frequently these symptoms to other health problems. Thus, they are less likely to seek appropriate care for the prevention of heart attacks. It is important for women to learn how to recognize symptoms of a heart attack to be able to react appropriately.
Specific risk factors to women
Smoking increases the risk of a heart attack especially in women of less than 50. This risk is even more important in women older than 35 who smoke while taking oral contraceptives.
Estrogen, is it a protective hormone?
Estrogen increases protection against cardiovascular diseases. However, the decrease in the estrogen production with menopause takes away this protection. This makes post-menopausal women prone to the same risks, as men of the same age group, of developing cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes also takes away this hormonal protection, and constitutes an additional risk factor in cardiovascular diseases.
The importance to seek help
Cardiovascular diseases can affect a woman’s life by reducing her quality of life and affecting her work life. Women affected by cardiovascular diseases can benefit from the support of their family and friends and other support groups. In certain women, these diseases can cause chronic pain and make them vulnerable to depression and anxiety.