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New heart health awareness and education campaign targets woman

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Officials with Heart & Stroke have launched a new, multi-year awareness and education campaign to support women’s heart and brain health focusing on risk factors across certain life stages.

Christine Faubert is the director of health equity and mission impact for the foundation. She told CTV News that for the new campaign, they are using the faces of women with lived experience and experts are hoping it will get women thinking and asking questions.

“It’s going to be like a multi-year campaign,” said Faubert.

“It’s really focused on helping women learn about their risk factors for heart disease and stroke.”

Heart & Stroke wants women to be their own health advocates – but to do that they must know what to look for and the risk factors they may have like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and reduced physical activity.

Faubert said problems can get compounded for those living in rural areas like parts of northern Ontario – where in many regions people are more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke.

“Access to ambulances, emergencies, even cell phone services, support services – they’re just not, as you know, as accessible for people who are far from bigger centres.”

Stories of survival

Diana Reedie shared the stories from parts of her battle with heart disease. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)Diana Reedie is in her 40s and is a mother of two and has had a double bypass surgery.

“I did wait awhile and I shouldn’t have but I definitely can say that I’m an advocate because I was one of the lucky ones and had I not (been) – I probably wouldn’t be here today,” she said.

Reedie told CTV News that hearing the words “heart disease” came as a shock to her – adding that her arteries were 80 – 85 per cent blocked.

“Doesn’t matter how old you are or what symptoms you’re presenting – you have to be an advocate for your own health and you have to get checked,” she said.

Reedie said that working in healthcare one of the most common mistakes waiting.

A campaign for change

Christina developed gestational diabetes and gestational high blood pressure during pregnancy. But she never knew that this could indicate an increased risk of heart disease in the future. These stories and more are part of Heart & Stroke's new awareness campaign targeting woman. (Supplied/Heart & Stroke)“We’re trying to work with empowering women but we’re also working as an organization,” said Faubert.

“Heart & Stroke is committed to work also with healthcare system and clinicians and healthcare professionals to really help women also understand their risk and manage them so that they can reduce their risk of health conditions in the future.”

According to the foundation – only 11 per cent of Canadian women can name one or more of women’s specific risk factors for heart conditions and stroke.

Faubert said the ultimate goal of the campaign is to get that last number “a lot higher.” 

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