No one is immune to a heart attack or stroke. You can live your life in a healthy way with plenty of exercise and a good diet but genetics may override all of that. Nine out of 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke and every seven minutes, a life is taken by heart disease or stroke.
Risks can be reduced by as much as 80 per cent by making these changes:
• Quit smoking – smoking is an addiction and quitting may be difficult, but with help and a plan, it may become easier. Within one year of quitting, your risk of suffering a smoking-related heart attack is cut in half.
• Exercise and eat right – diet and exercise are important for a healthy heart. Thirty minutes of daily exercise and seven to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit every day will put you on the right track.
• Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels – high blood pressure and cholesterol levels are major risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Reduce your sodium, saturated and trans fat intake and talk with your doctor about testing your levels.
Those are the ways you can lower your own risk. How about starting out by taking a walk through your own neighborhood and canvassing for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. If you can help call Beth Pattullo at 250-642-5858. This February, more than 70,000 volunteers across the country will canvass door-to-door and on-line to try and raise awareness and accept donations.
For more information go to: www.heartand stroke.ca