Cardiovascular statistics in Canada
Every 7 minutes someone in Canada dies from heart disease or stroke; that’s 206 people per day! To put that another way, a Boeing 747-400 can carry anywhere from 416 to 524 passengers. If we take an average of 470 passengers per plane then deaths from heart disease and stroke equal the same number as three 747’s dropping out of the sky every week. Can you imagine the attention that would gather if that was really happening? Although the numbers are the same this problem gets overlooked because it happens so quietly; that’s why this disease is called the ‘silent killer’. Are we really that desensitized to how serious a problem heart disease is for Canadians?
9/10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.
$20.9 billion is what cardiovascular disease costs the Canadian economy every year.
$12.8 billion per year in productivity losses are due to heart disease, stroke and hypertension.
Much of the burden caused by cardiovascular disease is preventable.
The major modifiable risk factors include smoking, alcohol,high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, diabetes, overweight/obesity, and poor nutrition. Other risk factors that are beyond our control include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.
How does all this happen?
The major factor in most cardiovascular disease is the slow, steady and silent build up of fatty plaque deposits in your arteries, which are suppose to carry nutrients and oxygen rich blood to your heart, brain, limbs and organs. As the plaque continues to build (also known as atherosclerosis) the arteries begin to narrow which reduces the blood flow. Restricted blood flow specifically to the heart or brain can result in a heart attack or stroke. Often this happens without any warning to the individual and their first symptom may be their last. Wouldn’t you want to know if you are at risk while you can still do something about it. Well, you can! And its as simple as getting an annual Cardio Screening.
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What should we be doing about it?
Some people believe that the medical system in Canada is there to take care of their health, when in true fact they are really there to take care of your sickness. The responsibility for an individual’s health rests solely on the individual. The key to controlling any disease is prevention, however, knowing how to prevent disease is equally as important. Early detection of disease symptoms is a primary step in reversing the disease process and possibly the disease itself. Cardio Screening will make you aware of your risk factors for heart attack or stroke and allow you to make changes while you can still do something about it. At a minimum, screenings should be done annually and if risk factors are noted, then appropriate changes should be implemented and further screenings scheduled to monitor improvements.