One in four deaths are attributed to some form of heart disease. In Canada alone, that would mean that in 2018 approximately 70,000 people in Canada died of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, the most common type being coronary heart disease.
What are the risk factors?
- High “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Inactive lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol use
- Excess weight and obesity
- An unhealthy diet
There are other risks which can’t be controlled such as a family history of heart disease, age (the older you are, the higher the risk), being post-menopausal and your gender. Males have a slightly higher risk of heart disease than females.
How can you keep your heart healthy?
- Start with a healthy diet. Leave out the processed foods and choose more fresh vegetables and fruit. Cut back on red meat and choose chicken or fish. Oatmeal is always a good breakfast choice. Add some berries for more flavour.
- Increase your physical activity. If you aren’t used to exercise, start slow. Walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and it can be done anywhere. Even inside your home! It will also help you to lose weight.
- Quit smoking and cut back on your intake of alcohol. Trying to quit smoking is extremely difficult. Look for something else you can do with your hands while you quit. Write or draw. Take up knitting. It’s been proven to help with anxiety which is a side effect of quitting.
- Manage your stress. Increasing your physical activity will help with this. Look for other ways to keep your mind off of your worries. Try painting or an online solitaire game.
World Heart Day falls on September 29th. Click here to read about that special day and to access more information on keeping your heart healthy.