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First comprehensive Canadian perspective on women and cardiovascular disease

As you are well aware, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the greatest health threats facing women around the world. Yet, two-thirds of clinical heart disease and stroke research is based on men, and this sex and gender research gap is costing lives. And while research has made tremendous gains in understanding heart disease and stroke in men, cardiovascular disease in women is under-diagnosed, under-treated, under-supported, and under-researched, and people are under-aware.

In 2019, the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance (CWHHA), powered by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, collaborated on a comprehensive review that synthesizes the current evidence regarding sex- and gender-specific differences in comorbidity, risk factors, disease awareness, presentation, diagnosis and treatment across the entire spectrum of CVD.

Together, we are proud to announce that we have co-authored the first scientific paper on women and cardiovascular disease primarily focused on a Canadian perspective that covers the full spectrum of CVD. The paper is published in the February 17th edition of the Journal of American Heart Association Go Red issue dedicated for women’s health. https://ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.015634

The work we accomplished together represents the first collaboration of this kind in Canada between the CWHHA and Heart & Stroke. This was a joint effort by 30+ authors from across the country and a variety of disciplines, including researchers, physicians, allied health professionals, and women living with heart disease.

The results of this collaboration will help influence key decision-makers on the importance of a sex-specific approach to cardiovascular care in Canada; inform future work on the development of a woman-specific cardiovascular risk assessment; identify knowledge gaps and guide future research; and, help describe a unified approach to improve cardiovascular outcomes in women in Canada.

We invite you to read the paper, share it with your colleagues and consider how the findings can support and inform your own work in cardiovascular health.

If you would like more information, please contact the corresponding authors (Drs. Sharon Mulvagh and Colleen Norris), the CWHHA (Dr. Thais Coutinho) or Heart & Stroke (Dr. Cindy Yip) at cwhhc@ottawaheart.ca.