Heart disease is one of the most widespread and difficult health challenges in the world and is the second leading cause of death in Canada.
Know the Risk Factors & How to Manage Your Lifestyle
Three major risk factors of heart disease are:
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Key factors that play a significant role in your risk of heart disease are often out of your control, such as age or genetics but it’s important to focus on the factors that you can control to lower your risk.
- Food & Drink: Eating a diet high in salt (sodium), saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and related conditions, such as atherosclerosis. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure levels and the risk of heart disease. Consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and limiting unhealthy fats can contribute to a healthier heart.
- Physical Activity: Regular physical activity can help you lead a healthier lifestyle overall. Simple exercises such as walking, running, cycling, or jumping rope can make a significant impact on the way your body functions. Exercise can strengthen the heart muscle, keep weight under control, and reduce stress.
- Smoking: Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels very quickly, but the damage can also be quickly repaired by quitting. No matter how long you have been smoking, it is never too late to quit. Your risk of heart disease dramatically decreases even as little as a year after no longer smoking.
It can be difficult to make changes, consulting with a doctor to create a sustainable plan can set you up for success and a healthier lifestyle.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease
Symptoms of heart disease can vary depending on the type of disease you have and whether you are a male or female. General signs of heart disease can include, but are not limited to:
- Angina (pain, tightness, pressure, or discomfort in the chest)
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
- Pain in the jaw, throat, neck, upper abdomen, or back
- Racing or slow heart
It’s important to note, it is possible to experience little to no symptoms. Often, the first symptom of coronary heart disease may be a heart attack. It's important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms and discuss concerns with your doctor as cardiovascular disease can sometimes be found early with regular evaluations.
Senior Helpers believes a diagnosis should not mean the end of your loved one’s independence and freedom. We work with families throughout the Greater Toronto Area to help create and implement a comprehensive plan for the numerous services we provide.
Depending on your loved one’s needs, we can provide assistance with daily living activities. Find your local Senior Helpers today.