Heart disease is the number one killer in North America. And it is almost 100% preventable.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has some health and lifestyle factors that you can control that can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 80%
Here they are:
-Dont Smoke: smoking causes hardening of the arteries. This will lead to a heart attack. People who smoke have nearly double the risk of certain types of stroke. The good news? Within 24 hours of quitting smoking your risk of heart attack decreases.
-Lower your cholesterol: cholesterol is produced by the body and taken in through the diet. Despite all the negative press cholesterol gets, some cholesterol is needed in the body. The difference is between HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein). HDL- "good" cholesterol- helps to remove plaque from building up in the arteries. LDL- "bad" cholesterol - actually promotes the build up of plaque in the arteries - which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol can be lowered and controlled through diet and exercise
-Manage your Weight - Being overweight can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood triglycerides, and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. All of these increase your risk of heart disease. Manage your weight by controlling your meal portion sizes, getting 30 minutes of exercise every day, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and avoiding excess added sugar.
-Get Physically active! - get moving! it is recommended that you get atleast 30 minutes of exercise each day. But new information has come out saying that you can start to see health benefits from 10-20 minutes. So try getting 10minutes of exercise 2-3 times a day and then build up to a more substantial exercise program - Check out this link for some 10 minute exercise programs!
-Monitor your blood pressure - if your blood pressure is high, some ways of lowering it are: lower sodium intake, exercise, eat a low-fat diet, and talk to yoru doctor
-Manage your Diabetes - by controlling blood sugar, eating a well-balanced diet, having healthy weight and exercising.
-Limit alcohol intake - one or two drinks a day for women or something like red wine has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Any more than that is dangerous. And some of the previously mentioned lifestyle changes are much more effective - such as exercise, lowering your weight, eating a well-balanced diet
Reduce Stress - identify stressors in your life and how to manage them. Talk to friends and family about wha is going on in your life. Take time for your self to relaxe or practice mediation, and get active!
I know this is a lot of information but it is important information. I got it from the website of a friend who is riding her bike across Canada to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Check out her website Across Canada For Your Heart to learn about the journey and find out how to donate!