Every year in Canada, about 250,000 potential years of life are lost due to heart disease and stroke. If you could add a decade of healthy years to your life, would you not grab the chance?
Keep your cholesterol on track. Almost 40% of Canadian adults have high blood cholesterol. Cholesterol deposits in your arteries increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Keep your blood pressure in check. High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer’, with no warning signs or symptoms. It affects one in five Canadians. By controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40% and heart attack by up to 25%.
Dark Chocolate: A 2010 combined analysis of 10 studies found an average blood pressure drop of 4.5/2.5 mm Hg with dark chocolate and cocoa products as compared to milk chocolate, white chocolate, and placebo.
Simple steps yield big results. Eighty percent of heart attacks are preventable.
1. Get active
Physical activity is a lifesaver – literally. Activity adds 3-4 years to a person’s life. The indolent are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Healthy eating is key. Yet, about half of Canadians do not satisfy the Canadian Food Guide’s healthy eating recommendations.
3. Watch your salt
Keep your salt intake under 2300 mg. This can quickly add up: a McDonald’s Big Mac contains 1020 mg; KFC medium French fries contain 2120 mg.
Avoid processed foods. Don’t add salt at the table.
4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Almost 60% of Canadian adults are overweight or obese ? major risk factors for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
5. Manage diabetes
By 2016, an estimated 2.4 million Canadians will live with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.