WEYBURN - February might be the shortest month of the year, but there is still enough time to put a special focus on heart health during the month. As February is Heart Month, it is a time to reflect on the importance of our cardiovascular health and to learn about how we can manage our risk factors for heart disease.
In last week’s column, I wrote about Dry Feb, and how curbing your alcohol intake can lead to health benefits, including improved heart health. According to research, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. The heart is one of the most important organs to the human body, and so it is especially important that we all do our part to give our hearts extra love and attention.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide and the leading cause of premature death in women in Canada. There is a special focus of heart health for women on February 13, when community members are encouraged to Wear Red to raise awareness about women’s heart and vascular health.
Residents can go online to wearredcanada.ca and participate in the Wear Red movement challenge that runs from February 13 to 28, to help raise funds for the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance.
Most Canadians have at least one risk factor of heart disease and stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation offers dozens of resources to help Canadians learn more about their heart health and understand their risks for heart disease.
We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices, including eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It can be challenging at times to make some of these lifestyle changes, so it is always important to speak to a family doctor and take small steps. It is important to remember to rely on your health team, including your pharmacist, a nutritionist, and even a chiropractor.
Making one small change towards a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference. There are also many online resources on the Heart and Stroke Foundation website, that can help people who want to take action improving their heart health. There are a number of Health Seekers stories on how to stay active, or shop healthy, and recipes as well.
There are also personal stories, of those who were brave enough to share how their lives were impacted by heart failure. The Heart and Stroke Foundation also accepts donations to help continue their research and raise awareness to all community members.
So give your heart some love this month. Do your best to make one positive change for your future.