Women aren’t aware of heart disease and stroke risk

The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011 Stroke Report warns that stroke awareness is dangerously low among all women, especially among women from Canada’s largest visible minorities — people of Chinese and South Asian descent.

The polling found that women are not aware that stroke and heart disease are their leading cause of death.

For Canadian women overall, 53 per cent are unable to identify that stroke and heart disease are responsible for one in three deaths, while the number for women of Chinese and South Asian origin is 84 per cent.

“Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in women. The real tragedy is that 80 per cent of strokes are preventable, whether you’re a man or a woman,” said Dr. Frank Silver, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesman.

Stroke affects women and men of all ages. More than 50,000 strokes occur in Canada every year, one every 10 minutes. About 300,000 Canadians live with the effects of stroke. In Canada, stroke kills 32 per cent more women than men.

Women’s awareness of stroke warning signs is poor.

Stroke warning signs and symptoms are: sudden loss of strength/numbness in face/arm/leg, even if temporary; sudden difficulty speaking/understanding/confusion, even if temporary; sudden loss of balance, especially with other signs; sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary; sudden severe/unusual headaches.

Women also had low awareness of stroke risk factors, which include: high blood pressure; smoking; high cholesterol; obesity; stress; family history; physical inactivity; age; heart disease; diabetes; excessive alcohol consumption.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has launched two stroke apps to help Canadians lower their stroke risk. These are the My Heart&Stroke Health Check Recipe Helper Smartphone app and the My Heart& Stroke Blood Pressure Action Plan app.

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