The Hard Facts About Heart Health: Are You at Risk?

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone but it’s not too late to take care of the only heart that really matters — your own! Ajax chiropractors Dr. Noble and Dr. Fera encourage you take a few minutes to examine your risk factors for heart disease.

Your Heart
The strongest and toughest muscle in the human body, a healthy heart beats about 72 times every minute and weighs between 9 and 12 ounces. With each beat, it simultaneously pumps blood into the lungs to pick up oxygen and out of the lungs to supply the tissues in the body. Having a constant supply of blood keeps your heart working properly.

Heart Disease Facts
Heart disease is a group of conditions that affect the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes. It remains one of the biggest causes of death worldwide. While mortality rates have decreased in many high-income countries over the past 20 years, low- and middle-income countries have seen their mortality rates rise. Killing more North Americans each year than cancer, women in particular have seen their heart disease risks increase.

Risk Factors
While there are many risk factors you can do something about, there are some you can’t control such as your:

  • age — your risk of heart disease increases as you get older
  • gender — men over the age of 55 and postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of heart disease
  • family history — your heart disease risks increase if a close family member developed heart disease before age 55 (or before menopause)
  • ethnicity — First Nations people and those of African or South Asian descent are at a greater risk for heart disease because they are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes 

Your best defense against heart disease is to control the risk factors that could lead to coronary artery disease such as:

  • high blood pressure/hypertension
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • excess weight
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • physical inactivity
  • smoking
  • stress level

The Heart & Stroke Foundation website offers helpful tips to lower your risk for heart disease. To find out if you’re at risk, take their heart and stroke online risk assessment and learn how you can take action to live a longer and fuller life.