This is why women everywhere should be seeing red this month

February is Heart Month, the time when the Heart & Stroke Foundation is most active in communities across Canada to raise awareness and raise funds for the cause. This Heart Month, Heart & Stroke is focused on women because women’s heart and brain health is still vastly misunderstood.   

Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada, and most women don’t even know it, wrongly presuming other diseases are more dangerous. In fact, women are six times more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than breast cancer, and every 17 minutes a woman in Canada dies from heart disease or stroke.

That’s 32,000 women that die from these diseases in Canada each year.

That's 32,000 too many. 

The evidence is clear: when it comes to heart disease and strokes, women are under-researched, under-diagnosed and treated, under-supported and under-aware of their risks.  All these ‘unders’ are causing women to die unnecessarily. These are just a few of the startling facts that everyone needs to know about: 

  • Two-thirds of heart disease and stroke clinical research focuses on men.
  • Heart attack symptoms go unrecognized in 53% of women.
  • The tests designed for men do not work as well for women.
  • Women who have a heart attack are more likely to die or suffer a second heart attack compared to men.
  • Stroke is more deadly for women than men.

It’s time to close the research gap and stop women dying unnecessarily. Not researching the difference between a man’s and a woman’s heart and brain is proving fatal for women.  Heart & Stroke has committed to the following three undertakings:

  • Ensure equitable (fair-not the same as equal) representation of women in the research we fund. All research we now fund has to consider sex and gender-based analysis and reporting.
  • Double the dollars for women specific research. Most of what we know about how to diagnose and treat heart disease and stroke has been learned from research on men – but one size doesn’t fit all.
  • Build a Research Network, a nation-wide community of scientists to advance expertise in women’s heart and brain health.

Together we can fund life-saving research for the women we love.  To support Heart & Stroke this Heart Month, go to to donate and your dollars will be matched.

It’s time to better understand women’s hearts and brains.

It’s time to make sure women’s symptoms are investigated and their risks evaluated equitably.

It’s time to make sure healthcare professionals are equipped with new knowledge and tools.

It’s time for us all to recognize – and challenge – whenever bias occurs.

It’s #TimeToSeeRed

To have your donation matched, give to the Heart & Stroke Foundation during the month of February to have your generosity go even further.