5 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health

(NC) Did you know that nine out of 10 Canadians over age 20 have at least one risk factor for heart disease? More than 1.6 million Canadians have heart disease — the second leading cause of death in the country.

Heart disease is a risk factor for both heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests. A heart attack — a circulation problem where blood flow to the heart is blocked — has some risk factors you can control, like lack of exercise, stress, and being overweight. But sudden cardiac arrest — an electrical problem, where the heart malfunctions and stops beating — can happen to people of any age, of all fitness levels and without warning.

Decrease your risk of heart disease by improving your heart health with these simple lifestyle changes and tips the whole family can follow.

1. Start moving. Begin with 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, and increase if you can. Don't have time to hit the gym? Taking the stairs, walking to work or the grocery store, and parking further away at the mall are all easy ways to sneak in some activity throughout the day.

2. Develop healthier eating habits. Follow Canada's Food Guide, making sure to eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies. Choose healthy fats like omega-3s and reduce your sodium intake with fresh, unprocessed foods and low-sodium versions of items like soups and pasta sauces.

3. Manage vices. Develop a plan with your healthcare provider to quit smoking, which increases blood pressure and contributes to blocked arteries, and cut back on your drinking.

4. Destress. Improve how you cope with stress through exercise, meditation and better work-life balance.

5. Be prepared. Chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest double when CPR is used in combination with an AED in the first few minutes. An automated external defibrillator checks a person's heart and delivers an electric shock if it has stopped beating normally. A home defibrillator, like the Philips HeartStart AED, is specifically designed for use by virtually anyone to help save a life in case of an emergency.

Find more information at www.philips.com/aed.

www.newscanada.com

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