Heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases are often most closely associated with men, but heart disease is the leading cause of hospitalization and premature death for women in Canada. According to the most recent Statistics Canada annual data, close to 25,000 women die each year from heart disease.

With the right information and action, it’s possible to prevent heart disease or improve your chances of surviving it so that you could lead a healthy life. Know and pay attention to the following symptoms of heart disease and never delay getting help for your symptoms.

Common symptoms of heart disease for women:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. This can feel like a pressure, tightness, heaviness, squeezing, burning, or gripping pain or discomfort
  • Pain radiating from chest to the neck, jaw, left arm and/or back, stomach
  • Stomach pain or discomfort, or feelings of indigestion
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Unusual or extreme fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • An irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Source: Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre

Find out 4 things you need to know about women’s heart health

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Dr. Tara Sedlak VGH

Dr. Tara Sedlak, cardiologist and director of the Leslie Diamond Women’s Heart Health Clinic at VGH.

Leslie Diamond Women’s Heart Health Clinic at VGH

Thanks to the Leslie Diamond Women’s Heart Health Clinic at VGH, women with cardiovascular disease can enjoy a better quality of life. In 2009, the Clinic opened its doors with the goal to prevent and stop the progression of heart disease in women through rehab treatment and education.

Hundreds of women have benefitted from the Clinic’s top specialists and services, led by Dr. Tara Sedlak, Canada’s only certified women’s heart health cardiologist.

The Clinic is hoping to expand its offerings to support a greater vision of women’s health – including new staff for enhanced patient care and increased research – so as many women as possible can live well and live long.

Women's Heart Health Tips


Heart disease is the #1 killer of women worldwide and affects women of all ages

Heart attack symptoms go unrecognized in 53% of women

One day, Denise Johnson lay in bed, heart pounding in her chest and discomfort and pain beginning to shoot down her arm. She thought to herself, ‘Am I having a heart attack?’

She had gone in for several different exams, but no one could find any answers.

Denise advocated that it was physiological, and together with her family doctor got a referral to the one person who would find out what was truly going on — Dr. Tara Sedlak, cardiologist and director of the Leslie Diamond Women’s Heart Health Clinic at VGH.

Read Denise’s Story

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