As the month of February commences, you may have noticed the increased amount of ads and campaigns about heart health. This is because February is Heart Month and aims to increase awareness about cardiovascular disease. Heart disease also commonly referred to as cardiovascular disease, occurs when there are problems with either the heart or the blood vessels. Heart disease includes: heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and arrhythmias. According to the World Heart Federation, the majority of heart disease is caused by factors that people can control (modifiable risk factors), which include:
- Overweight and obesity
- Unhealthy diet (excess consumption of processed foods, sodas/pop,etc.)
- Elevated cholesterol and lipid levels
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Elevated blood sugar levels
- High blood pressure
There are also a few factors (non-modifiable risk factors) such as age, gender and family history that can contribute to a person’s risk of heart disease, but there are still a lot more modifiable risk factors that a person can change. Now, looking at myself, just based on my family history I am already at risk, I can’t change that! But I sure can monitor my diet, my weight, activity levels, blood sugar levels, etc. Increasing my consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating whole grains, wild-caught fish are all simple steps that I can take to protect my heart and not just for the month of February!
As always, Keep It Simple and Show Your Heart some Love!
Best in Heart Health,
ps…here are some facts about heart disease:
- Men are at greater risk of heart disease than a PRE-menopausal women, but once a female reaches menopause the risks are the same
- Women commonly experience different symptoms of stroke than men and may often just brush them off as they may seem like the flu
- High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart disease
- In Canada, more than 1.4 million Canadians have heart disease
- In 2009, heart disease was the leading cause of death of women in the United States