Fewer Canadians – but more women - are dying from heart disease

June 24, 2009 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Fewer Canadians – but more women - are dying from heart disease

Canada's death rate from heart disease dropped by nearly one third over the last decade, due mostly to improved heart attack prevention and rehabilitation, according to a new study published in the June 23, 2009 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

However, for the first time ever, Canadian women dying from heart disease outnumber Canadian men.  

While the difference is slim - 50.5 per cent of heart attack, stroke and heart failure deaths are in women and 49.5 per cent are in men - it still represents a dramatic shift from the notion that heart disease affects mostly middle-aged men.

This new report took a close look at the national death rate from heart disease between 1994 and 2004, examining deaths from heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

Overall, the heart disease-related death rate fell by 30 percent due mostly to better preventive measures and improved heart disease treatment options, says the lead researcher from Toronto, ON.

Age plays a significant role in the increased rate of heart disease-related death in Canadian women. The loss of cardio-protective estrogen with menopause quadruples a woman's risk of heart disease.  On average, women are 10 years older than men when they suffer their first heart attack and tend to be slower to respond to heart attack symptoms by seeking medical care.

Nutrition-related risk factors for heart disease in women and men include high blood cholesterol, obesity (BMI > 25) and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Eating a diet that's low in saturated and trans fat, high in soluble fibre (apples, oats), and high in vegetarian sources of proteins like soy, beans, seed and nuts are some of the ways to prevent heart disease through nutrition.

For more information on nutrition strategies and recipes to prevent heart disease, check out Heart Healthy Foods for Life by Leslie Beck, RD.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.