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Promoting Education on Heart Disease in Women - 2020

Category: LEGISLATION
Sub-Category: HEALTH ISSUES
Resolution Number: 100.80.39
Club: London
Year: 2020
Status: Open
Reaffirmed:
Comments:

BACKGROUND - Although considered an issue for men, heart disease in women is also an issue every 20 minutes a woman dies from heart disease in Canada, making it the leading cause for premature death in women.

Premature death has been defined as dying before reaching your expected lifespan. This has increased the mortality rate for women, making heart disease 11% higher than for men. In addition, the risk of heart disease is highest in women over the age of 55. Furthermore, symptoms experienced by women are much different than those experienced by men and are often not recognized. Due to this, women have historically waited longer before seeking treatment, as their symptoms do not align with the known symptoms of heart disease (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada [HSF], 2018).

Heart attack symptoms in men and women differ greatly, and physiological differences are part of the reason. Lack of sufficient knowledge of these differences has led to early signs of impending heart attacks being missed in 78% of women (HSF, 2018). This results in gaps in our understanding of heart disease in women, leading to misdiagnosis from doctors and lack of awareness in the public.

Since symptoms are different for women, there should be more education provided to women so that they can be aware of and respond to these symptoms. Studies have shown that although women of all ages are concerned about heart disease, many women, and especially younger women are unaware of how the symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks present. In a survey conducted in 2017 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada of 2,000 women from across Canada aged 19 - 29, only 37% believe heart disease can be different for women than men (compared to 67% of women age 50-69), 40% eat unhealthy foods 5 or more times per week (compared to 28% of women age 50-69), and 58% report stress most or every day (compared to 35% of women age 50-69) (HSF, 2018).

Government agencies should take more responsibility in spreading awareness, making it a requirement for other health agencies to spread awareness about heart disease in women. In addition, educational materials regarding heart disease in women should be made available in upper grade elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions, either as additions to health courses or as printed materials available in student centres or electronic links available for download by students, parents or other caregivers. Although the risk of heart disease is highest in women over the age of 55, raising awareness and educating women from a young age about the risks of heart disease and the symptoms of heart attacks will decrease the rate of mortality of women (HSF, 2018).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Health, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and the Associate Minister Responsible for Children and Women’s Issues, to recommend inclusion of information on heart disease and symptoms of heart attacks in women in curricula for upper grade elementary and secondary schools and post-secondary institutions;

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Health, Minister of Colleges and Universities, Minister of Education, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and the Associate Minister Responsible for Children and Women’s Issues, to provide materials giving information on heart disease and symptoms of heart attacks in women in secondary schools and post-secondary institutions, either as additions to health courses or as printed materials available in student centres or electronic links available for download by students, parents or other caregivers.

 

©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com

Article ID:4403

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