Healthy Hearts Across Vancouver Island

With a total population of around 750,000 people, Vancouver Island is home to a lot of women. They’re our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmas, nieces and our friends. And in recent years, the risk of heart disease in women is now on par with the risks facing our male counterparts.

February has been declared Heart Health Month across Canada by the Heart & Stroke Foundation, an initiative that encourages women to better care for themselves, cut their cholesterol rates and take steps to a healthier lifestyle. The Heart Truth is a campaign chocked full of information for us ladies, no matter how young or old. You can take a quiz to assess your personal risk, download a Community Action Kit and find tips for prevention and also learn the warning signs of heart disease. It could save a life.

Here are a few tips courtesy of The Heart Truth to help prevent heart disease and strokes:

  • Quit Smoking – Smoking contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and blood clots and doubles your risk!
  • Lower Your Cholesterol – Almost half of all Canadian women have cholesterol levels that are too high, a risk that’s proven to be more serious in us than in men.
  • Keep Your Weight Down – If you’re 30% or more over a healthy body weight, you’re two to three times more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Stay Active – 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can slash your risk of heart disease and have a positive impact on some of the other tips listed here.
  • Monitor Your Blood Pressure – Keeping your blood pressure in check will reduce your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent, your risk of heart disease by 50 per cent and your risk of heart failure by up to 25 per cent. Those numbers add up!
  • Kiss Stress Good-bye – Stress is inevitable, but the more you stress, the less likely you are to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Relax, unwind and reduce your risk.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a significant factor in women’s heart health so monitor your blood sugar levels daily, eat a healthy and balanced diet that’s high in fibre, stay active and watch your weight.
  • Put Down The Third Cocktail – Some alcohol, such as red wine, is heart-healthy in moderation, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Limit yourself to one or two drinks per day, maximum, to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on The Heart Truth and other campaigns, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation online. You can also find the foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Until February 11, enter to win delicious Valentine’s Day prizes from Silk Road Tea, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, the Nanaimo Museum and Saltspring Soapworks.

The Wellness Show Giveaway: Until February 17, enter to win two tickets to The 19th Annual Wellness Show and a gift basket for either a cat or a dog.

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