Every seven minutes in Canada, someone dies from a heart attack or stroke. And the majority of those people are women.

When it comes to heart attacks and strokes, women are more likely to die than men. Women are also 10 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than from any other type of disease.

But results from a recent study, released yesterday by the American Heart Association, indicate that Canadian women may reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes if they are screened for elevated hsCRP — a type of protein naturally produced in the body and thought to be a marker of inflammation and increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases — and follow appropriate measures.

Because nearly half of all cardiovascular diseases and injuries occur in people who are seemingly healthy and who have low or normal levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol, a traditional indicator of cardiovascular risk, elevated hsCRP screening could prevent many deaths.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, last year 165 out of every 100,000 people in Toronto were hospitalized for heart attacks, while 131 out of 100,000 people were hospitalized for strokes.

“Until now, we’ve had limited information about the benefits of primary prevention in women,” says Dr. Jacques Genest, director of the cardiology division at McGill University Health Centre.

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