Heart disease and stroke are the number one killer globally, taking a life every five minutes in Canada[i]. February is Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness for heart disease and stroke. Did you know that nearly 80% of premature cases of heart disease and stroke are preventable through lifestyle choices? By making informed decisions, we can take charge of our health and reduce the risk of developing these life-threatening cardiovascular conditions.

Heart & Stroke, a HealthPartners member, works tirelessly to raise awareness, fund research, and provide support to those affected by heart disease and stroke. Their dedication has contributed significantly to progress in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases. 

This month, we challenge you to look at what lifestyle choices might be hindering your cardiovascular health:  

  • Unhealthy Diet: Opt for a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It’s not about giving up your favourites; it’s about striking a balance. 
  • Physical Inactivity: Exercise doesn’t have to be a daunting marathon; it can be a leisurely stroll or a dance session in your living room. Start with small goals – take the stairs, park a bit farther, or do some movement during your favourite TV show.
  • Unhealthy Weight: Forget crash diets; think sustainable changes. Small shifts in your eating habits, combined with regular movement, can nudge the scale in the right direction over time.
  • Smoking: Quitting smoking is a journey, not a race. Seek support from friends, family, or cessation programs. Celebrate every smoke-free day as a victory, knowing each one is a step towards a healthier you.
  • Stress: Life is a balancing act, and stress is a part of the tightrope. Incorporate small moments of calm – a few deep breaths, a short walk, or a moment of mindfulness.
  • Excessive Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Track your intake and set realistic limits. Substitute some drinks with water or mocktails. Seek professional help if substance use feels beyond your control. It’s a journey and taking that first step is a triumph.

By understanding the risks, adopting healthier habits, and supporting organizations like the Heart & Stroke, we can collectively work towards a heart-healthy future for ourselves and our communities.

Note: be sure to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized health guidance.

[i] Heart &Stroke: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/donations?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAw6yuBhDrARIsACf94RVvYiHILLLB1UFnHifORkIbi-0yPQipvP2GFqxnHs0zFexokT5FJFYaAutBEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds