Heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes and 90 per cent of Canadians have at least one risk factor.
What is heart disease?
Your heart is a muscle that gets energy from blood carrying oxygen and nutrients. Having a constant supply of blood keeps your heart working properly. Most people think of heart disease as one condition. But in fact, heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes. Coronary artery disease, for example, develops when a combination of fatty materials, calcium and scar tissue (called plaque) builds up in the arteries that supply blood to your heart (coronary arteries).
The plaque buildup narrows the arteries and prevents the heart from getting enough blood.
Heart disease is preventable and manageable.
Your best defense is controlling the risk factors that could lead to coronary artery disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and being overweight.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, there are treatments to help you manage your illness. You can further reduce your risk by considering these heart-healthy steps:
• Be smoke-free.
• Be physically active.
• Know and control your blood pressure.
• Eat a healthy diet that is lower in fat, especially saturated and trans fat.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• Manage your diabetes.
• Limit alcohol use.
• Reduce stress.
• Visit your doctor regularly and follow your doctor’s advice.
For more information go to: http://www.heartandstroke.ab.ca
Heart Month is about saving lives
Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s key opportunity to reach millions of Canadians in February and alert them to the risks of heart disease and stroke.
Heart Month is a national campaign that mobilizes Canadians to rally together in raising awareness and funds that have an enormous impact on the lives of all Canadians. Through the generosity and compassion of volunteers, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is able to help Canadians prevent heart disease and stroke, save lives by enabling faster and better emergency medical response and treatment, and enhance support for survivors, families and caregivers. By donating, you’re helping to ensure that more survivors come home to the people they love.
The Heart Month campaign began in 1958 when the Heart & Stroke Foundation, led by Dr. Wilfred Bigelow, committed to raise $600,000 to fund heart research. In Ontario, volunteers in Hamilton, Kingston, Lakehead, London, Oakville, Oshawa, Peterborough and Port Hope launched a modest door-to-door campaign to raise a provincial goal of $250,000. By the end of the campaign, they had exceeded goal and raised $320,000.
In 1962, the canvass – named the “Heart Sunday Canvass” – was expanded to include additional cities. Canvassers consisted primarily of Air Cadet Squadrons, Ladies’ Auxiliary and Canadian Legion branches and medical students from the University of Toronto.
Today, the February Heart Month canvass is a national, community-based fundraising campaign. The success of this program depends on its 100,000 volunteers, who make friendly, personal requests to their neighbours and online networks. Volunteers canvass for donations through the month of February, to support life-saving research and raise awareness of heart disease and stroke within their communities.