Heart Smarts!

Quick Tips to Stay Heart Healthy

We all know February is the month of chocolates and Valentines, but it’s also Heart Month —a time when Canadians focus on the health of our hearts.

Chances are good that you know someone who has been affected by heart disease or stroke; it remains the leading cause of death and hospitalization for both men and women. The good news is your risk for developing heart disease can be greatly reduced by taking some simple preventative steps.

Butt out! Quitting smoking is a challenge, but it can be a lot easier when you have a plan and the support to put that plan into action. Your risk of heart disease drops as soon as you quit smoking.

Fill up on fibre. Consuming foods high in fibre helps with digestion, maintaining a healthy body weight and lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Watch your waistline. Men and women who are overweight—and in particular those who tend to carry weight in their midsection—are much more likely to suffer from a heart attack or heart disease. Even a modest five to 10 per cent off of your body weight can cut your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Step out of the stress lane. Stress can raise blood cholesterol and blood pressure, and ultimately take its toll on your heart. Put daily stressors like traffic, line-ups and deadlines into perspective and take a few deep breaths. Better still, burn anxious energy, boost mood-lifting endorphins and get your heart positively pumping with a dose of daily physical activity.

Spot the signs of trouble. Most people are aware of the more ‘typical’ symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or upper body. What you may not know are the subtler signs of heart problems or a heart attack—often more commonly reported among women—include indigestion, nausea, light-headedness or cold, clammy skin.  Knowing the warning signs of heart disease is important and can help reduce your risk of developing more serious heart problems.

If you are ready to take on any of these challenges in your own life, Unison’s Assistance Program is here to help.  Call today and be directed to the applicable, skilled professional who can help you come up with a plan for smoking cessations, nutrition and meal planning, physical fitness or mental health.

For assistance please call 1-855-9UNISON (1-855-986-4766)

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