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Heart and blood vessel health partly depends on heredity, but also on your lifestyle. With a little discipline and commitment, caring for one's cardiovascular health is within everyone's reach. Find out what you can do to help the organ that gives you life.
Cardiovascular disease (which affects the heart and blood vessels) is among the most common health problems and the most deadly diseases in Canada. In fact, it is estimated that every seven minutes, one Canadian succumbs to cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA). Certain factors can predispose a person—man or woman—to have a cardiovascular problem, for instance: poor diet, sedentariness (lack of exercise), smoking, stress, being overweight or obesity, family history of heart disease and certain diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, etc.). Therefore, you have a significant role to play in keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy.
The medication used to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease is of critical importance. If you aren’t certain why a medication was prescribed to you, or what the benefits and risks of treatment are, talk to your pharmacist. Some individuals stop their drug treatment along the way or do not take their medication properly, exposing them to higher risks of cardiovascular problems.
For additional information on the ways to maintain cardiovascular health, we suggest that you read the following texts:
We often hear about good and bad cholesterol, but what does it mean exactly? For many individuals, the idea of “cholesterol” remains fuzzy, and its impacts misunderstood. In very simple terms, bad cholesterol is a substance that accumulates on the walls of certain blood vessels. This contributes to a condition called “atherosclerosis”, which leads to the obstruction of these vessels. Potentially serious cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction or stroke, may follow.
Optimal control of blood cholesterol levels depends on several factors, certain of which cannot be controlled, for instance, age, heredity, or gender (man vs. woman). However, it is possible to exercise a form of control on other risk factors referred to as "modifiable". Diet, obesity, sedentariness, and smoking are a few examples. When medication is required, following the treatment as prescribed can also make a significant difference.
For additional information about cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia, we suggest that you read the following text:
Hypertension, also known as “high blood pressure”, is also a significant threat to cardiovascular health. It not only causes damage to the heart and blood vessels, but to other organs such as the brain, eyes, and kidneys as well. High blood pressure is an insidious disease, as most of the time it does not present any particular symptoms, thereby causing harm without the person’s knowledge. Blood pressure can be monitored using a device called a “tensiometer”.
If your doctor has informed you that you have high blood pressure, there is good news—you can regain control and bring down your blood pressure. There are several ways to achieve this: change your diet (reduce your salt consumption, among other things), lose weight, exercise and quit smoking. Medication may be required to bring down your blood pressure. If this is the case, ask your pharmacist to inform you about the dosage of the medication, how it works, and its benefits and side effects, and the precautions associated to its use.
For additional information about high blood pressure, we suggest that you read the following text:
In today’s society, we put a lot of emphasis on the importance of eating well. A healthy and balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of heart attack, by enabling you to better control you blood pressure and cholesterol, among other things. Your food choices are also of critical importance. A diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables, fibre, and fish is beneficial to heart and blood vessel health.
In terms of diet, your heart may desire what isn’t good for it. Foods that are high in calories, sugar, and fat are generally not very good choices. To benefit from a healthy diet, one must show forward thinking, discipline, and consistency. Why not stock your book shelves with books that promote heart healthy food choices? Consulting a nutrition specialist is another useful way of achieving your objective for better cardiovascular health.
For additional information about the impact of diet on cardiovascular health, we suggest that you read the following texts:
It is a well-known fact—cigarette smoke damages the lungs as well as a number of other organs, including the heart. Your blood vessels are also affected by the harmful effects of smoking. Smoking is at the top of the list of risk factors for heart disease. It is estimated that roughly one third of heart disease is directly linked to smoking. The good news is that quitting smoking reduces the risk of heart disease linked to smoking by about 50% after one year and to normal percentages after five years.
If you are considering to quit smoking, start thinking about strategy. Ask yourself what will help you develop an action plan that will help you succeed. What would be the best time to quit smoking? Which healthcare professional would you consult? Which smoke cessation aid would you use? How would you deal with cigarette cravings? Who around you would be your best allies?, etc. Pharmacists are knowledgeable about smoke cessation and can accompany you and help you each step of the way, so don’t hesitate to talk to them.
For additional information about the benefits of smoke cessation, we suggest that you read the following texts:
There are plenty of ways to keep your heart young and healthy aren’t there? If you strive for a healthy lifestyle, for preventive methods, and in some cases, preventive medication, you are increasing your chances for success. Pharmacists are very knowledgeable about illnesses and treatments, and about prevention as well. They can inform you about the many aspects of cardiovascular health, so talk to them if you have any questions about this important subject.
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