Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Brett Heilbron, MD, FRCPC, cardiologist, discusses heart disease in both sexes.

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Brett Heilbron, MD, FRCPC, cardiologist, discusses heart disease in both sexes.
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Featuring Dr. Brett Heilbron, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

There are some common misperceptions about cardiovascular disease in men and women, and in particular many women perceive their risk to be mainly that due to cancer, not to heart disease.

But in fact, if you have a look at the actual numbers, far more women die of cardiovascular disease than all cancers combined. In addition, there's a general sense that men actually have more heart disease than women, but if you look at the numbers in Canada, actually more women than men die of heart disease every year.

When women present they present differently as well. The chest pain that women get is often a bit atypical so it's not the usual crushing, retrosternal style chest pain. It may be just presenting as shortness of breath or arm discomfort.

I think another complicating fact is that the tests that we use to diagnose heart disease in women can sometimes present quite differently or show up quite differently.

So exercise treadmill testing, for example, is much more prone to being a false positive in women than it is in men. It's important for men and women to be proactive about their cardiovascular health, and I think in particular women shouldn't be afraid to present with the symptoms that could be the early signs of heart disease.

And certainly I think it's important for both men and women to see their family physician if they have any concerns that there could be something brewing in terms of their cardiovascular health.

Presenter: Dr. Brett Heilbron, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.