Campus Life

Learning the truth about heart disease


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in Canada and the United States.

The various forms of heart disease include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure and heart attacks. Heart disease accounts for 35,000 deaths per year among women in Canada, and of these deaths, 54 per cent were due to ischemic heart disease, 20 per cent due to stroke, and 23 per cent due to myocardial infarction (heart attacks).

These are sobering statistics that deserve our attention.

So, exactly what is heart disease?

Your heart is a muscle that gets energy from blood carrying oxygen and nutrients. Having a constant supply of blood keeps your heart working properly. Most people think of heart disease as one condition. In fact, heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes.

The positive is that heart disease is both preventable and manageable. While you cannot control your age, gender, ethnicity and family history, risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and being overweight are all readily modifiable.

For more information on women and heart disease, visit and or call Building Healthy Lifestyles at 403-388-6675.

If you'd like to find out more about your risk of heart disease, register for this semester's Health Check for U session, a 15-minute confidential free screening program. It includes cholesterol and blood sugar level checks, blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference measurements and a follow-up consultation.

Check out your heart's age – take charge of your health and put your Heart into it! To register send an e-mail to Past participants are welcome to come back for a second or third screening to see if there have been any changes.

In other Wellness news, mini-massages are available through March, as provided by Lethbridge College Massage Therapy students. Drop in for a 10 to 15 minute massage or register at The next session is Feb. 27, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in AH117.

The February Wellness Lunch and Learn session is Thursday, Feb. 16 at 12:05 p.m. in AH100. 3 Secrets to Stress Management will feature a presentation from chiropractor Dr. Pierre Gaulin.

Suzanne McIntosh is the University's wellness co-ordinator. This article was prepared with the assistance of Marci Neher-Schwengler RN, Heart Function Clinic/Heart Failure Network, Building Healthy Lifestyles.