“What we don’t know can hurt us.”
That’s according to a new poll from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which shows many Canadians are unsure about the signs, symptoms and risks surrounding heart disease and stroke.
“There are approximately 108,000 new strokes each year in Canada,” said Dr. Sean Duquerow, medical director of stroke and rehabilitation at the Calgary Stroke Program.
“Almost 900,000 people are living with the effects of stroke.”
World Stroke Day is October 29th and one of the driving forces behind strokes is heart disease. Calgary’s Heather Evans has experienced it firsthand.
“I come from a family of eight children, and five of them died from heart disease,” Evans said.
“I come from a family of eight children, five of whom died from heart disease,” Heather Evans said.Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
In 2004, when Evans was 39 years old, she suffered two heart attacks in one day.
“They had to put a stent in my right artery, which was 100 percent blocked,” Evans said.
“If it wasn’t for the stent, I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t be with my family for another 20 years.”
Although death rates from heart disease and stroke have declined over the past 70 years, the Heart Disease and Stroke Foundation says heart disease and stroke remain the second leading cause of death in Canada after cancer.
“There are still 3.5 million Canadians living with heart disease or stroke,” said Samantha Bersht, director of health policy and systems at the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions about what these symptoms entail and what people can actually do to prevent these symptoms or when they see these symptoms.”
Dukelow said the first preventive measure all Canadians can take is to research their family health history and learn about early diagnosis and disease management.
“Think about exercise. Think about nutrition. A healthy diet may prevent stroke.”
Nearly 20 years after his heart attack, Evans is now the general manager of a Calgary gym where he encourages his clients to take care of their heart health.
“What I’ve learned over the years in this job is that people don’t prioritize themselves,” Heather Evans says.Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
“What I’ve learned over the years in this job is that people don’t prioritize themselves,” Evans said.
“I said, ‘No, I have two jobs. I’m too busy.’ What if I wasn’t here because I didn’t take care of my health?”
Click here to learn more about heart disease and stroke. heartandstroke.ca.