Heart disease and stroke is the number one killer in Canada affecting both men and women, however women die from heart attacks more often than men. Additionally, stroke kills 36 per cent more women than men in Canada.
Why does such a disparity exist? Women may experience symptoms differently than men that can be more subtle, as well many women have a tendency to ignore their symptoms until it's too late. Certain risk factors are also more detrimental in women compared to men for developing heart conditions. Examples include smoking, family history, diabetes and depression.
Regardless of gender, nine out of 10 people have at least one risk factor for heart disease and 40 per cent have three or more. The good news is that 80 per cent of heart disease is preventable through exercise and healthy eating.
Below are some easy tips to incorporate into your lifestyle to reduce your chances of heart disease:
- Eat breakfast. Resist the urge to skip this important meal as it gets your metabolism going at the start of the day
- Set small attainable goals like take a 30 minute walk during your lunch break at work or get off the bus one or two stops earlier or park farther from your destination
- Get regular medical check-ups to screen for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are major risk factors for heart disease
- Don't smoke or kick the habit – call 811 for support
- If your BMI doesn't fall within the healthy range; losing just 10 per cent of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 80 per cent
- Accept your body type for what it is – body shaming contributes to further weight gain. Focus on exercise and being the healthiest you can be, not necessarily on your weight
- Eat a healthy balanced diet that includes lots of colourful fruits and vegetables
- Eat small healthy meals and snacks at least six times a day