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Take Control of Your Heart Health

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Take control of your heart health


			

As many as 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. While some risks are outside of our control, up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable through lifestyle choices that can reduce key risk factors.

You can take control and decrease your own risks by making small, healthy changes in your daily routine. Making changes is always challenging. Your healthcare team can help you figure out what risk factors you should focus on first and set goals that you can reach.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are struggling with your weight, you’re not alone. Over 60% of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and waist, you can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, and help control other conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
The foods you eat affect your health. Start by making sure you eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day to get you on track to a healthier diet.

Stay Active
People who are NOT active have double the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as increased risk of diabetes, cancer and dementia. Being active helps your heart, brain, muscles, bones and mood.

Working towards 150 minutes of moderate to vigourous activity every week is one of the most important things you can do for your health. And if you already have heart disease, regular activity is one of the best ways to make a good recovery.

Choose to Not Smoke
Smoking contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the oxygen in your blood, increases your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder. You might be afraid that quitting will be too hard, but there is lots of help available when you are ready.

Reduce Stress
Stress is a part of life for just about everyone. Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize stress because we are caught up in the flow of life. Although stress happens first in the mind, it has strong effects on the body, such as higher cholesterol or blood pressure levels. 

Control Alcohol Consumption
How much and how often a person drinks alcohol are key factors that increase or decrease health impacts. Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines provide guidance on risky drinking patterns, including avoidance of alcohol in pregnancy. Low risk does not equal no risk. Whenever unsure, always consult your healthcare provider.

You can get started today by taking a free online risk assessment at heartandstroke.ca/risk. For more information, resources or health etools visit heartandstroke.ca.

Categorized under: tips-for-seniors

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