Heart Month is the perfect time to raise awareness about heart attack prevention, heart health, and what you can do to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in general. Unfortunately, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, affecting approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults. Understanding heart health and what you can do to lower your risk of heart disease can prevent you from becoming part of one of those statistics.
Improve Heart Health
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that Canadians can make in order to improve their overall heart health and lower the chance of cardiovascular disease, from eating healthy to getting enough sleep.
Here are some other steps you can take to improve your heart health.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A key component of good health is a balanced diet. This involves eating healthy, nutritious foods and keeping sugars, sodium, and food colours to a minimum. The Government of Canada is also doing its part to educate and help Canadians have a better diet by implementing healthy eating programs in schools, promoting more robust food labelling programs, and working to eliminate industrially produced trans fats.
People who smoke have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, smokers are two times as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, and more likely to die from them. Quitting smoking immediately lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack. So if you smoke, quit. If someone you know smokes, help them quit.
The Canadian government is also working on stricter tobacco control, particularly to limit access to youth and reduce smoking rates. Contribute to the mission by educating your children about the dangers of smoking.
We’re told our whole lives about the importance of regular exercise and being physically active every day. It may get tiring, but the benefits are clear and can’t be underplayed or overstated. Even a little physical activity a few times a week has an impact.
Regular exercise reduces your blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and helps you maintain a healthy weight – all of which lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. So, if you’re not physically active, start small with a few minutes here and there. Just get started!
Another way to prevent heart attacks and other heart conditions is to make sure you get enough sleep. Adults who don’t get adequate sleep are more likely to experience health problems, including heart attacks. Sleep deprivation contributes to higher blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, if you have a sleep disorder, seek treatment.
Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Monitor Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. Keep your blood pressure in check by monitoring it and taking the necessary steps to bring it to the appropriate level. You can reduce your blood pressure by limiting the amount of salt you eat and opting for more fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium.
Exercising regularly, maintaining healthy body weight, limiting alcohol, and being smoke-free will also help lower high blood pressure.
Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack and Cardiovascular Disease
Use this Heart Month to get serious about your cardiovascular health. Follow these tips to live a healthier life and lower your risk of heart attack and heart disease. Even if you only start small or with a few lifestyle changes at a time – it counts!
You owe it to your family and friends to take care of yourself. Take care of them by taking care of yourself and investing in a critical illness insurance policy.