Take Care of Your Heart – By Dr. Stephanie Shaw, DC
Every February we are reminded of the very important subject of heart health. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for Canadians. Nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke and it is the leading cause of hospitalization in Canada. Although more Canadians than ever before are surviving heart attacks and stroke around 80% of them are preventable.
The preventable risk factors include managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, smoking and stress. The non-controllable risk factors include age, gender, family history, ethnicity, and history of stroke or TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack).
There are healthy behaviours that all Canadians can adopt to help prevent heart and stroke and to lead an overall healthier lifestyle.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Be physically active (30 minutes a day is a good start)
- Be smoke free
- Limit alcohol consumption (women should limit themselves to no more than 2 drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 10; and men to 3 drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 15)
- Manage stress by allowing for down time in the day, practicing meditation, yoga or participating in other relaxing activities.
Women have extra risk factors to consider when it comes to strokes. On Thursday, February 6th, 2014 Health Day News released the first ever guidelines created to help lower stroke risk in Women (http://news.health.com/2014/02/07/new-guidelines-aim-to-lower-stroke-risk-in-women/).
Women share a lot of stroke risk factors with men, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and obesity; but they also have a set of unique concerns that need to be addressed. Pregnancy, childbirth and hormones play a role in stroke risk for women. The risks get higher as a woman gets older, especially as they accumulate other risk factors such as high blood pressure. The first signs of vascular disease can appear during pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. These women are at twice the risk for stroke later in life and four times the risk for high blood pressure later. Taking birth control pills can also raise a woman’s risk for stroke, especially in middle age. And women who get migraines with aura are also at higher risk, so they need to consider preventive strategies earlier in life.
If you are looking for a little additional help in making lifestyle modifications to improve your health and lower your risk of heart disease come visit one of our Chiropractic or Naturopathic doctors. We love seeing our patients make proactive health choices.
For more information on heart and stoke diseace, you can also visit www.heartandstroke.com.