February is Heart Month and this year the emphasis is being placed on heart disease in women.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, heart disease is the leading cause of premature death of women in Canada.

Kate Chidester, VP of Advocacy, Health, and Research for the foundation in Alberta, says many women are underestimating their risk factors.

"What we're finding is that women overall are at higher risk than they know they are," she says. "When we polled Canadian women we did find that among younger women, ages 19 to 29, their awareness of the seriousness of heart disease and their understanding it can be different for men and women was very low, so only 37% believe heart disease can be different for women than men."

Chidester adds women are more likely than men to die or to have a second heart attack within the first six months of a cardiac event.

There are some preventative measures people can take to get heart healthy.

"Being tobacco free and not smoking, trying to get in that moderate to rigorous exercise, eating your fruit and vegetables is very important and using whole foods, moderating your stress, knowing your blood pressure, and speaking to your physician about your family history."

Nine out of 10 people have risk factors for heart disease and stroke.


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