Clyde Yancy, professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, suggested seven lifestyle changes to achieve optimal health potential.
Delivering the keynote lecture at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver on October 23, 2011, Dr Yancy told delegates that people who follow these seven simple lifestyle factors have a 90 per cent chance of living to the age of 90 or 100, free of not only heart disease and stroke but from a number of other chronic illnesses including cancer.
1. GET ACTIVE: Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.
2. KNOW AND CONTROL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: Almost 40 per cent of Canadian adults have high blood cholesterol, which can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries − increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.
3. FOLLOW A HEALTHY DIET: Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health – yet about half of Canadians don’t meet the healthy eating recommendations.
4. KNOW AND CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure − often called a ‘silent killer’ because it has no warning signs or symptoms − affects one in five Canadians. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent and the risk of heart attack by up to 25 per cent.
5. ACHIEVE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: Almost 60 per cent of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese − major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.
6. MANAGE DIABETES: By 2016 an estimated 2.4 million Canadians (or 7% of a projected population figure of 34.5 million) will live with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.
7. BE TOBACCO FREE: More than 37,000 Canadians die prematurely each year due to tobacco use, and thousands of non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years, your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every year in Canada about 250,000 potential years of life are lost due to heart disease and stroke, which are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada.
“We know how to prevent heart disease and stroke we now need to build the tools to empower our citizens to manage their risk and prevent heart disease,” says Dr. Yancy.
Sharpened focus on prevention strategies would save billions of dollars in heath costs
Dr. Yancy calls on governments to invest in steady and focused prevention strategies. He says that necessary initiatives include a change in current sodium policies, continued progress in tobacco control initiatives, increased green space, and health education.
The above story is based on materials from the news release by the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011 in Vancouver, BC.
The Zestzfulness Team believes these seven simple lifestyle changes are just as relevant to non-Canadians!