Hypertension affects one in five Canadians. Because there are no symptoms, many people who have high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. That is why it is called the “silent killer”. Extreme hypertension can cause a blood vessel in the brain to rupture resulting in a stroke.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Some evidence suggests that moderate amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine, can be good for your heart. But excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and contribute to the development of heart disease and stroke. Limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day to a weekly maximum of 9 for women and 14 for men.
Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis,
coronary artery disease and stroke, particularly if blood sugar levels are poorly controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels, which can result in circulation problems.
High Blood Cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of the fats in your blood. High cholesterol can lead to a build-up of debris in the artery walls, causing atherosclerosis. There are two main types of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and High-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is often called the “bad cholesterol” because high levels in the blood cause the build-up of plaque in the arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is called the “good cholesterol” because it helps carry LDL-cholesterol away from the artery walls.
Those living with high levels of stress may have higher blood cholesterol, increased blood pressure or be at greater risk of developing atherosclerosis. High levels of stress can lead certain people to make unhealthy lifestyle choices such as overeating, smoking or drinking too much alcohol. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Almost 60% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can considerably decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke and manage other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. You can maintain a healthy weight by eating a variety of healthy foods and becoming physically active.
Lack of Exercise
People who are not physically active are twice as likely to develop heart disease and stroke. Being physically active is a good way to maintain a healthy weight, reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, manage stress and cut your risk of heart disease and stroke.