Heart and Stroke Awareness Month
February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month! We want to spread awareness this month, and remind ourselves to take care of our hearts and heads. Up to 80% of premature heart disease and strokes can be prevented, so let’s indulge in some self-care this month.
Strokes happen when blood stops flowing to our brains. The effects of a stroke can depend on which part of the brain was influenced by the blockage. There are different types of strokes that can occur, with the most common being the Ischemic stroke. An Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage or a clot in an artery leading to the brain. The blockage is caused when plaque builds up in the wall of an artery, and blood can no longer pass through smoothly. Strokes can even lead to Dementia. There are certain things you can do to prevent a stroke like quitting smoking, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and lowering your blood pressure. All of these preventions can also reduce your risk of dementia. For more information on stroke prevention, please visit Stroke and Dementia on the Heart & Stroke website.
Heart disease is a general term that means our hearts are no longer working as they should. Some forms of heart disease are genetic and present at birth. However, most heart disease can develop over time. There are many ways to prevent heart disease by living a healthy and active lifestyle.
February is the month of love, so let’s show some love to our hearts! Here are 5 little ways to improve our heart health this month:
1 . Take a daily walk outside
Fresh air and some daily exercise are extremely important for our heart health.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies
This may be a no-brainer, but it is easy to forget to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into our daily diet. An easy way to do this is by making smoothies in the morning. Adding spinach, carrots, celery, berries, bananas, apples, etc. to a smoothie, can be a simple way of getting an added dose of veggies and fruits.
3. Meditation and breathing
Remember to breathe! Taking deep and long breaths will help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit and focus on your breathing.
4. Have a handful of nuts
Feeling hungry? Having a handful of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, for example) is the perfect way to kill hunger and substitute junk food.
5. Wash your hands often
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is a great way to protect your heart health. Washing your hands will help you avoid infections, the flu, and pneumonia which can be very taxing on your heart.
This month, let’s take extra care of ourselves and give a little back to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart & Stroke is a leading funder of life-saving research, which has led to breakthroughs such as heart transplant surgery and a revolutionary stroke treatment that cuts the death rate by 50%.” They empower Canadians to live better and healthier lives by providing research, and resources. They encourage us to do more physical activity and help fight for salt reduction in our food supply. They’re a pretty incredible organization, with over 60 years of experience in fighting against the disease. Please find them online at www.heartandstroke.ca