Not Another Minute should go by with Canadians not being aware of the risk factors of heart disease, especially considering nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The stats are sobering, but in this age of information we have opportunities to increase awareness of the risk factors and steps one can take to prevent it.
It's also vital we’re clear on what falls under the term cardiovascular disease. Did you know, heart valve disease, coronary heart disease (CHD), coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and arrhythmia all fall under the catch-all cardiovascular disease spectrum?
There are other factors similar across the many conditions, age among them. Causes of heart valve disease are mostly related to degenerative change due to aging, and the illness often presents afters people are over the age of 65. Heart valve disease is sometimes congenital (present at birth) and the presence of other conditions (ie. coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy or rheumatic fever) may also cause heart valve disease. The good news is that you have it within your means to combat some of these risk factors.
Regular exercise, healthy eating and living smoke free1 can play a role in prevention and/or management of obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, all linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart valve disease.
With a new year around the corner, there’s no better time to put you and your loved one’s wellbeing and heart health first by learning more about the risks and strategies to reduce yours.
As we reflect on this past year, we’d like to thank this community for being a part of our advocacy efforts. Dave and John’s videos that we unveiled during our recent Heart Valve Disease Week campaign motivated several of you to share your stories which are vital to our efforts to help more Canadians understand the symptoms of heart valve disease and to encourage them to seek stethoscope checks. While serious, heart valve disease is treatable.
The coming year will see us continue to collaborate with Heart Valve Disease groups on heart valve disease specific initiatives. We’ve also been invited to be part of a community of health groups focused on cardiovascular care. Both are important and will ultimately help improve outcomes for all cardiovascular diseases, including heart valve disease with Canadians and stakeholders who stand to help us improve detection and treatment. Looking ahead to a new year, we can think of no better focus and outcome.