Canadians at Risk for “Perfect Storm” of Heart Health Concerns

Young people are at a higher risk of developing heart disease than previous generations, according to a report that was released on Monday. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadians are putting their health at risk by being overweight, not getting enough exercise and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. High blood pressure is affecting people at younger ages than in previous generations, too: a whopping 250,000 people in their 20s and 30s have high blood pressure.

Dr. Ross Feldman, a researcher at the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario stated that, “In terms of high blood pressure, 20 is the new 40 or even the new 50.” Dr. Feldman, a hypertension expert who runs a high blood pressure clinic, also stated that 25 percent of the patients he sees are under the age of 30.

Would you like to avoid becoming a statistic like these? Doctors can only do so much to help when a patient develops high blood pressure. A better choice than getting treatment for high blood pressure once it develops is to take the “ounce of prevention” approach and start taking responsibility for your own health.

Get a Checkup

Start by getting a complete physical checkup, if you haven’t been seen by your doctor for a while. Be sure to ask whether there are any reasons why you shouldn’t exercise. If you get the go-ahead to be more physically active, ask your doctor for suggestions about the best type of exercise for you.

Quit Smoking

If you are a smoker and you want to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s time to think about your options for quitting. Your doctor or pharmacist can make some suggestions about using a nicotine patch or gum, or give you some advice about whether taking a medication like Chantix is right for you.

Change Your Eating Habits

You have control over what you decide to eat, so why wait to change your eating habits for the better? Make a point of eating fruits and vegetables more often; even a simple thing like substituting a salad for fries with a meal can make a difference in your overall health. If you do decide to eat salads more often, watch how much dressing you add. Going overboard with a creamy dressing can undo the good you are trying to achieve by eating these foods in the first place.

Ex-Smokers Putting Their Health at Risk Through Weight Gain

We all know by now that smoking increases the risk of heart disease. Despite the warnings that we have heard, kicking the cigarette habit can be challenging for many people. It’s not a question of lack of will power; the problem stems from the fact that nicotine is a highly-addictive substance.

The cravings that a person who tries to quit smoking goes through are very real, and many people who manage to give up cigarettes find that they gain weight afterward. This may be caused by the fact that food tastes better after giving up the habit or perhaps the ex-smoker eats more in an effort to keep their mouth busy without lighting up again. Whatever the reason, gaining weight after giving up smoking may mean trading one risk factor for heart disease for another.

Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, so the person who is planning to quit smoking needs to have a plan for keeping his or her weight under control.
fruits, vegetables, fiber
One way to do so is to plan meals and snacks carefully after butting out.

A person who is hungry can learn to think about whether they want to eat something sweet, crunchy, or chewy and then having healthy options readily available. When the craving is for something sweet, look to fresh fruits or low-fat yogurt to satisfy the craving. Carrot and celery sticks can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for times when something crunchy would hit the spot. Raisins or prunes are chewy, and add fiber to the diet.

A person who has decided to quit smoking has already made a very positive decision about his or her health. It needs to be followed up with another one about making a strategy to avoid weight gain afterward.