Valentine’s Day: Straight From The Heart

Dr. Vivien Brown See Bio

Dr. Vivien Brown is Vice-President, Medical Affairs and a recognized leader in her field as an outstanding family physician and a pioneer in raising awareness for women’s health issues on a national and international scale. She was awarded Family Physician of the Year Award 2012 by the Ontario College of Family Physicians. Dr. Brown is responsible for creating and leading a strategic initiative on promoting women’s health at Medisys.

Dr. Brown’s community work and affiliations on numerous bodies related to the health care of Canadians brings valuable insights and leadership including an appointment to the Faculty Advisory Board of McGill Medical School and as President of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada (FWMC). Dr. Brown also represents family physicians on the board of Immunize Canada, and best practices in the public sphere have been integrated into our Medisys programs.

Dr. Brown is responsible for our corporate support of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), a not for profit organization, dedicated to raising awareness as well as increasing research on women’s brain health.

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Valentine’s Day as we know is a time to acknowledge your loved ones, showing your appreciation and yes, love. But I would suggest the most important thing you can do for those you care the most about, is take care of yourself and your loved ones. For taking care of yourself means you will be there, healthy and strong to take care of others. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, but rather selfless. Why? Because your family will suffer, if you don’t look after yourself, if you become ill, needy and not productive. And taking care of your loved ones is a way of showing love that will have a huge impact, more than chocolates or flowers.

So as we approach Valentine’s Day and all matters related to the heart, I wanted to talk about heart health and some of the issues involved in cardiac health.

The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain, central pressure over the chest or radiating to the neck, chin and left arm, often accompanied by nausea or shortness of breath. In women, we sometimes see variable chest pain or some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it’s not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. We also need to pay attention to other symptoms, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Right arm pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Light- headed or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be subtler than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. And sometimes we downplay these symptoms.

Certainly if we really want to care for our partner, our family and the ones we love, we need to focus on how to increase the healthy manoeuvres and avoid heart disease. Instead of an extravagant high fat meal in a restaurant, why not consider a cooking class on low fat options? Instead of a sedentary activity, such as a movie, with snacks and junk food, how about trying a new activity such as hiking or snowshoeing? Or maybe a spin class or yoga?

While heart disease is the number one killer, many Canadians still don’t think of the disease as a personal concern. Lack of awareness may be a barrier to timely assessment and treatment. This Valentine’s Day, please take the time to assess your heart health and your families’ health for cholesterol and triglycerides and start to make heart healthy changes in your life.

See you at the gym!!


Dr. Vivien Brown is Vice-President, Medical Affairs and a recognized leader in her field as an outstanding family physician and a pioneer in raising awareness for women’s health issues on a national and international scale. She was awarded Family Physician of the Year Award 2012 by the Ontario College of Family Physicians. Dr. Brown is responsible for creating and leading a strategic initiative on promoting women’s health at Medisys.

Dr. Brown’s community work and affiliations on numerous bodies related to the health care of Canadians brings valuable insights and leadership including an appointment to the Faculty Advisory Board of McGill Medical School and as President of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada (FWMC). Dr. Brown also represents family physicians on the board of Immunize Canada, and best practices in the public sphere have been integrated into our Medisys programs.

Dr. Brown is responsible for our corporate support of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), a not for profit organization, dedicated to raising awareness as well as increasing research on women’s brain health.

 

 

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