As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is highlighting the importance of guarding your ticker against more than just heartbreak.
According to the foundation, nine out of every 10 Canadians has at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but many of these factors can be controlled by the individual.
In honour of February being Heart Month, the foundation is highlighting the lifestyle changes that can help prevent up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke, as well as the warning signs of a heart attack.
Heart-healthy choices include adopting a healthy diet, finding at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week, managing stress, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol.
The foundation recommends eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day, opting for whole grains and limiting both salt and sugar intake. Women should opt for a maximum of two alcoholic drinks in a day with a weekly limit of 10 and men should aim for a maximum of three a day with a weekly limit of 15.
Thousands of Canadians die from heart attacks annually because they don’t recognize the early signs, according to the foundation.
While the signs of a heart attack vary from person to person, common ones including chest discomfort (tightness, pressure, burning, pain, fullness or heaviness), sweating, discomfort in the upper body (neck, shoulders, arms, back or jaw), nausea, shortness of breath and light-headedness.
Chest pain is the most common sign, but women can have a heart attack without any upper chest symptoms. Some women having a heart attack may notice pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen, upper back pressure, extreme fatigue, dizziness and light-headedness to the point of fainting.
Severity can vary and some people may only display one symptom. If you or someone around you experiences heart attack symptoms, call 911.
For more information visit heartandstroke.ca.
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