Heart’s Desire bolsters awareness about women’s health

  • May. 18, 2011 2:55 p.m.

Spreading the word about heart health in regards to women was the goal behind the second annual Heart’s Desire Ladies’ Fundraising Gala held recently.

The successful event, in support of the Red Deer Heart & Stroke Foundation’s campaign called The Heart Truth, was held at the Capri Centre.

Close to 170 people attended the event, said chair Kim Desjardins, adding that highlights included keynote speakers who talked about their own experiences with heart disease. There was also a dance troupe who recently lost their teacher.

“We were passing out tissues – that’s for sure,” said Desjardins adding that feedback following the gala was very positive. “It was elegant and the message was put out there. It’s only going to get bigger and better, and that’s what we are excited about.”

The Heart Truth campaign is aimed at women between the ages of 40 and 60, the time when a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke starts to increase. The Foundation launched The Heart Truth campaign in February of 2008.

According to The Heart Truth web site, many women think of cardiovascular disease as a ‘man’s disease.’ But in fact, women are more likely than men to die of a heart attack or stroke. 

In Canada, stroke kills 32% more women than men. And women are 16% more likely than men to die after a heart attack.

According to The Heart Truth, there are a number of factors that may account for the increase in women’s risks of heart attack and stroke — women are less likely to recognize the symptoms of these diseases and seek treatment quickly; men and women are often treated differently by the health system with men receiving more prompt and proactive treatment and women have a number of unique risks such as pregnancy and menopause.

Meanwhile, the campaign is also important for younger women as well, because that’s when early prevention strategies can help save lives. For older women, it’s never to late to take action and lower risks as well, say organizers.

Statistics show that lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80%. According to The Heart Truth web site, such steps include not smoking, lowering cholesterol, managing weight, keeping physically active and monitoring blood pressure.

Stress reduction, proper management of diabetes and limiting alcohol consumption are also important lifestyle aspects to keep in mind.

Warnings of heart attack include chest pain, sweating, nausea, pain in the arm, neck, jaw, shoulder or back, difficulty breathing and fear or anxiety. Warning signs of a stroke include sudden vision problems, trouble speaking, dizziness, severe headache, and weakness or numbness.

For more information, check out www.thehearttruth.ca.