February is Heart Month!
Did you know that heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults and is the second leading cause of death in Canada? In America it accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths a year. That’s roughly 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.
It is a huge problem and heart month is a great opportunity to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health, and how we can reduce our risk levels. The American Heart and Stroke Association identifies these 7 key health factors for heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease. They call them the Simple 7.
Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of deaths in the US, killing 480,000 Americans per year. Worldwide, tobacco smoking is 1 of the 3 leading factors for disease. If you are a smoker there are many programs and products that may help you quit this unhealthy addiction and improve your health!
About 1 in 3 US adults do not engage in physical activity. In Canada, just over 2 in 10 adults and 1 in 10 children meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. To reduce your risk commit to integrating dedicated exercise into your lifestyle. It is recommended that adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity!
The American Heart Association recommends a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, fish, skinless poultry, nuts, and fat-free/low-fat dairy products for a healthy balance. Also you should limit sugary drinks, sweets, fatty or processed meats, solid fats, and salty or highly processed foods.
It’s all about making smart choices. Avoid high fat and sodium foods. Fast food is a great thing to cut!
Worldwide between 1980 and 2013 the proportion of overweight or obese adults increased from 28.8% to 36.9% among males and from 29.8% to 38.0% among females. Finding your healthy body weight is a large issue, and with regular exercise and a well balanced diet it can be achieved.
Nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high levels of LDL cholesterol, which is not the good kind. It is important to visit your physician frequently for cholesterol and blood pressure testing.
Controlling Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a chronic condition that occurs when blood pressure is consistently high for long periods. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important to frequently check your blood pressure with your physician.
Controlling Blood Sugar
Unfortunately, diabetes rates have shot up in Canada. More Canadians are living with type 2 diabetes than ever before. It is estimated about 81.6 million American adults have pre-diabetes and the numbers are increasing.
We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Making one small change towards a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference! Your cardiovascular health is crucial to your overall health, and by integrating the Simple 7 into your behaviours and lifestyle, you can help dramatically reduce your risk of certain diseases.