Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada.  Every 20 minutes, a woman in Canada dies from heart disease.  Even if she survives her heart attack, a Canadian woman is more likely to die or have a second heart attack, compared to a Canadian man. Five times as many women die from heart disease as breast cancer.  Yet, early heart attack signs are missed in the majority (78%) of women, and the majority (66%) of heart disease clinical research has focused on men.   
Over 90% of Canadian women have at least one risk factor for heart disease, and often these may go unrecognized and untreated.  Women often present with different cardiovascular symptoms than men, which may be challenging to diagnose, and thus are often missed and untreated.  When diagnoses are determined, management and therapy may not optimally be administered in women, and cardiovascular outcomes for Canadian women are significantly worse than for men.  It has recently been recognized that focused cardiovascular care clinics to address the specific needs of women with, and at risk for,  cardiovascular disease, are needed. (1)
The Heart and Stroke Foundation released its 2018 Report, “Ms.Understood”, (2) which starkly addressed the situation in Canada and concluded that:  “women’s heart health issues are under-recognized, under-diagnosed, under-treated, under-researched, and under-supported”.  To address this lack of awareness about women’s heart health and disease in Atlantic Canada, and to improve diagnosis, treatment, and research, Drs. Helen Bishop and Sharon Mulvagh recently established the Maritime Heart Center Women’s Heart Health Clinic (MHC-WHHC) in October 2017.   The mission of the MHC-WHHC is to provide woman-centered cardiovascular consultations with education and research opportunities to enable state-of-the art optimal clinical care, promotion of heart healthy lifestyle practices, and understanding of sex-based difference in the manifestations of acute and chronic heart diseases.
(1) Garcia M, Miller VM, Gulati M, Hayes SN, Manson JE, Wenger NK, Bairey Merz CN, Mankad R, Pollak AW, Mieres J, Kling J, Mulvagh SL. Focused Cardiovascular Care for Women: The Need and Role in Clinical Practice. Mayo Clin Proc 2016 Feb; 91 (2):226-40