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For A Healthy Heart!

Did you know your heart beats about 35 million times a year? It’s quite the hard-working muscle! However, it does need your cooperation to keep working properly.

Wondering how you can help?

Watch out for high blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, your heart needs to work even harder, and your blood vessels can suffer from it. Keep in mind that diet plays an important role in managing your blood pressure (for example, consuming too much sodium is a risk factor).

Limit your fat intake. Most importantly: always prefer “good fats” (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) to “bad fats” (saturated and trans). For more information, see Health Canada’s page on the subject.

Test your blood glucose frequently. Proper blood glucose management can reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Exercising regularly reduces the risk of heart disease in addition to contributing to your overall health.

Team up with healthcare professionals. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to reduce your risks, consult your pharmacist if you have questions and make an appointment with a dietitian if you want to improve your diet.

Don’t smoke (or stop smoking now). Smoking increases blood pressure in addition to doubling your risk of heart disease. The chemicals contained in cigarettes attack your blood vessels, which contributes to the hardening of arteries and impedes blood’s ability to carry oxygen in the body.

Relax.  Stress is a big no-no: it raises your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure, putting you at risk for heart disease. Find ways to relax—exercise, yoga or meditation are popular and effective options.

In conclusion

If you’re already on top of all that, great! If not, see how you could make small changes in your habits. Your heart will thank you!

References:
American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes and Heart Health - What's the Connection?”: http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/tips/2012-02/diabetes-and-heart-health.html. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “Stress Management & High Blood Pressure”: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/heart-health/stress-management-high-blood-pressure. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “How to Lower Your Blood Pressure”: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/heart-health/how-to-lower-your-blood-pressure. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “Smoking & Diabetes”: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/heart-health/smoking-diabetes. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “High Blood Pressure”: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/complications/high-blood-pressure. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “Heart Disease & Stroke”: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/complications/heart-disease-stroke. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Diabète Québec, “Le sel”: http://www.preventiondiabete.ca/le-sel. Accessed January 9, 2015.
Health Canada, “Fats: The Good the Bad and the Ugly”: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/fats-gras-eng.php. Accessed January 9, 2015.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, “Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke”: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke. Accessed January 9, 2015.

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