Deadly Heart Disease Strikes More Women Than Men

Although heart disease is the number one killer of women in Canada, very few women actually consider the disease a major health concern. In fact, women and their doctors often miss the symptoms of heart disease, passing them off as the normal aches and pains of aging or indigestion or stress. 
The traditional belief that heart disease predominantly affects men is false. In 2000, 36 per cent of all female deaths in Canada were a result of heart disease compared to 34 per cent for males. As women age the risk of dying from heart disease increases dramatically. Researchers believe that after menopause women lose the heart protecting benefits of estrogen. The result is a steep increase in heart disease and death. Women need to educate themselves on the risks of this deadly disease and play an active role in their own heart health. 
It is not all bad news. Medical discoveries are paving the way to better preventive treatments. A recent landmark study investigated a new treatment for both men and women with coronary disease who are what cardiologists consider ‘low-risk’ but nevertheless are dying even though they feel quite well until a few days before they die. This important international study, EUROPA, provides compelling evidence that heart attacks and death can be significantly reduced in patients with coronary artery disease when the common and well-studied ACE Inhibitor perindopril (Coversyl®) is added to their daily treatment regimen. Considering that half of all heart disease deaths in women are from coronary artery disease, this is both a milestone in cardiology and a major step forward for women.