During the month of February, you may see friends, co-workers and fellow Canadians wearing red to promote Heart Health Month. This 28-day long month will help bring awareness to a disease that is the second leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 17.3 million deaths worldwide every year. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy lifestyle choices and manage their medical conditions properly.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), also known as heart disease, refers to a group of conditions affecting the structure and functioning of the heart, including heart attack, stroke, angina, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and valve disorders, to name a few. 17.3 million deaths per year are caused by cardiovascular disease. One projection shows this number rising to around 23.6 million by 2030. The financial costs of heart disease and stroke are also immense, clocking in at nearly $21 billion including hospital costs, lost time, and decreased productivity.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there are seven main risk factors for CVD: hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and tobacco use. The good news is many of these risk factors can be controlled, treated, or modified. Some risk factors, such as those related to age, ethnicity, and family medical history, cannot be controlled, making it even more important for people with these risk factors to manage the behaviour that is within their control. A reassuring statistic from the World Health Organization suggests that up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behaviours. Start small, set goals and change your unhealthy lifestyle or habits for a healthier heart!
We’re doing our part to reduce the adverse effects of CVD by assessing the 10-year cardiovascular disease risk of all candidates performing the fitness-to-work testing. SureHire uses the Q-Risk 2, a predictive assessment tool that calculates CVD risk based on information about candidates’ personal and family medical history. Additionally, candidates who return a high blood pressure reading during their testing are encouraged to visit a physician for a follow-up.
When it comes to your heart health, anytime is a good time to take action or preventative measures. During the month of February, if you’re able and interested, take some time to get involved and promote this worthwhile cause. There are many events happening throughout Canada and in a city near you such as the Big Bike Ride, or Jump Rope for Heart. You can also join the other 90,000 Canadians who canvass for the Heart and Stroke Foundation nationwide. SureHire wishes everyone a happy and healthy heart month, and we hope to see you all wearing red!
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