In 2013 The University of Ottawa Heart Institute launched the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) because some startling metrics began to emerge with respect to women’s heart health. For example, 70% of what we know about heart disease is as a result of research conducted with men. Women were, and still are, under-represented in clinical trials, as they represented less than 30% of any given study group.

As a result, we have a male oriented model for Cardiovascular disease (CVD) which constitutes the basis for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for both sexes. This means that women are often under-studied, under-diagnosed, and under-treated, leading to adverse coronary outcomes for women.

Here are some startling  statistics obtained from the CWHHC:

  • Heart Disease is the leading cause of death among women worldwide
  • 1 in 3 women will suffer an event at some time in their life
  • 2 in 3 women are at risk of heart disease due to risk factors they can control
  • only 13% of Canadian women identify heart disease as their greatest health problem
  • risk factors develop as early as age 20

The focus of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) is on increasing the delivery of interventions to improve the perception, understanding, care and outcome related to CVD in women. The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre.

(CWHHC) is positioning itself to be a Leader in the development, implementation, and evaluation of prevention and management strategies to improve women’s cardiovascular health.

One of the many programs that has been developed and implemented by the CWHHC is the Women@Heart Program, which was launched in January 2015. This program is a peer support program led by women with heart disease, for women with heart disease, that aims to create a caring environment for women to learn from each other and support one another on their road to recovery.

This FREE program provides women with heart disease, in every community, with access to emotional and educational support. Research has shown that women feel more comfortable discussing their health concerns with their peers.

Now in its fourth year of delivering this program, the CWHHC has demonstrated significant improvement in education with respect to women’s heart disease. Participants who have graduated from the program have shown significant improvement in many areas. Women report they now have the ability to:

  • Cope with heart disease
  • Deal more effectively with stress, anxiety, and depression which is often associated with the diagnosis of heart disease
  • Take action for their heart health
  • Communicate effectively with their health care providers about their heart health.
  • Better manage proper nutrition

To get more information on this program please go to the CWHHC web site yourheart.ca.

As women, we all must become strong advocates for our own Heart health. “When in Doubt, Check it Out!”