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ISBN (Print) : 978-1-77368-219-8 | ISBN (Online) : 978-1-77368-220-4

Understanding First Nations women’s heart health

October 2019

Indigenous peoples generally, and First Nations women specifically, are experiencing disproportionately higher rates of chronic conditions and cardiovascular disease compared to the general Canadian population. This paper examines the context of First Nations women’s heart health, with a particular view to understanding the role of colonization in the prevalence of and risk factors for heart diseases, and in diagnosing and treating them. Beyond colonization, authors Diffey, Fontaine and Schultz situate First Nations women’s burden of heart-related illness and risk factors for the disease within a determinants of health framework, including racism and gender. They weave first hand narratives of First Nations women into the paper in order to highlight their unique perspectives and experiences of surviving cardiovascular disease as well as their cultural understandings of heart health. The paper concludes by identifying a number of strategies for closing the gap in First Nations women’s heart health, as well as the challenges and barriers that still need to be addressed.

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