There are many risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. Some you can control, others you cannot. To assess your risk for heart disease visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk for developing heart disease.
There are many ways you can reduce your risk for heart disease.
If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications, including: heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, impotence and nerve damage. People with diabetes are at very high risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, up to 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of a heart attack or stroke. In addition, people with diabetes may develop these types of problems at a younger age.
The good news is that people with diabetes can lower their risk of heart disease and stroke considerably by paying careful attention to all of their risk factors. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity and healthy eating are important, but most people with diabetes will also require a number of medications to reach these goals.
Blood glucose target: A1C of at least under 7.0%
When your doctor says you have high cholesterol, he is talking about LDL or bad cholesterol. It is “bad” because high levels lead the build-up of plaque in the artery walls. Sometimes the high LDL is a gift from your parents. But most of the time, it is from your diet – and it’s a major problem. Think plumbing – your arteries are the pipes that your blood flows through to your body and heart – LDL is the gunk that clogs your pipes. It can make it more difficult for blood to flow through your heart and body, putting you at increased risk of circulatory problems, heart disease and stroke. This narrowing is called Atherosclerosis.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important part of keeping you and your heart healthy. You do not have to achieve your ideal weight before you see benefits. A 5-10% reduction will result in improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels. When you lose weight, it has an impact on just about every other risk factor. So it’s a great place to start. It will make managing the other risk factors a lot easier. Committing to lose weight will lower your blood pressure, your “bad” cholesterol, your blood sugar and your stress and raise your mood.
An individual’s ideal blood pressure is determined by their personal risk factors. For most patients, we target blood pressure reading at less than 140/90 in the doctor’s office, or less than 135/85 in the community. In patients with diabetes or kidney issues, a blood pressure of 130/80 may be ideal.
By taking your medication as prescribed and making some lifestyle changes, you can bring your blood pressure down to a healthy range and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. In fact, controlling your blood pressure reduces your risk of having a stroke by 40%, a heart attack by 20-25% and heart failure by 50%.
Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. People react to stress in different ways; some are healthy responses, while others are not. It is important to understand what causes stress in your life and find ways to reduce it, or deal with it in a healthy way.
Download this pdf from the Heart & Stroke Foundation to find more information on dealing with stress.
Quitting smoking can do more than reduce your risk of heart disease, it can reduce your risk for cancer, and improve your breathing. Quitting smoking is hard, and there are many approaches you can take. Your local pharmacist is a great resource for help with quitting smoking.
|Quitting Time||Health Benefits|
|20 minutes||Blood pressure and pulse rate decreases.|
|8 hours||Oxygen level goes back to normal and carbon monoxide levels drop.|
|48 hours||Chances of having a heart attack decreases and sense of smell and taste start improving.|
|72 hours||Breathing will get easier as your bronchial tubes relax and lung capacity begins to increase.|
|2 weeks to 3 months||Circulation improves, exercising becomes easier and lung capacity can increase by as much as 30%.|
|6 months||Improvements in coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness, shortness of breath and colds.|
|1 year||50% reduction in risk of smoking-related heart attack.|
|5 years||Risk of having a stroke is now reduced to that of a non-smoker.|
|10 years||Risk of dying from lung cancer will decrease by half.|
|15 years||Risk of dying from a heart attack is the same as a person who has never smoked.|
For more resources please visit Alberta Quits.