"Has election fever put you under pressure?" - World Heart Day is Sunday 28 September 2008

    OTTAWA, Sept. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - By the year 2025 it is estimated that
more than 1.5 billion people around the world will have high blood pressure,
the leading risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease.
Today, five million Canadian adults have high blood pressure.
    There are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, and the only way to
know is to visit one's health care professional. "It's never too late to adopt
a heart healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Beth Abramson, Heart and Stroke
Foundation spokesperson. "With proper diagnosis and treatment of high blood
pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40% and heart attack by up
to 25%, that's why this year's World Heart Day campaign is urging you to "know
your risk!""
    World Heart Day is a global heart health awareness initiative led by the
World Heart Federation, whose Canadian members are the Heart and Stroke
Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.
    For some, Canada's election frenzy might cause stress that would register
a short term rise in blood pressure. Taking time to relax should take the edge
off. The good news is that it's easy for health-care professionals to detect
high blood pressure and it's usually controllable with lifestyle changes
and/or medication.
    Controlling high blood pressure could prevent heart disease and stroke
and help lower risks.
    Heart disease and stroke are major health issues in Canada and around the
world. In Canada alone, heart disease and stroke claim over 72,000 lives a
year. Not enough of us are aware of this and whether our own lifestyle and
heritage could be contributing to our risk of developing heart disease and
    Increasing physical activity, making healthier food choices, being
smoke- free, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, reducing salt and
alcohol consumption, and managing stress to lower blood pressure levels are
ways Canadians can reduce their risk.
    "Of the five million adults with high blood pressure, only 16% have it
treated and under control and almost half are unaware that they have high
blood pressure," said Dr. Lyall Higginson, President of the Canadian
Cardiovascular Society. Due to climbing obesity rates and an aging population,
the number of Canadians with high blood pressure will continue to rise unless
something is done to stop this trend."
    The level of risk for heart disease and stroke is a combination of
modifiable and non-modifiable factors, of which high blood pressure is one of
the most important. High blood pressure can damage the body every day that it
is too high.
    "Knowing your blood pressure, in particular, your blood cholesterol and
your blood sugar levels combined with your height, weight and waist
measurement, your health-care professional will be able to advise you what
specific actions should be taken to reduce your risk of developing heart
disease or stroke and ensuring you can have a healthy heart for life," said
Dr. Higginson.
    Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, being smoke-free
and consuming a healthier diet low in salt and fat (especially saturated and
trans fat), fresh vegetables and fruit can reduce your risk of developing
heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that increased consumption of
fruit and vegetables from less than three to more than five servings a day is
related to a 17% reduction in coronary heart disease. High blood pressure in
particular is closely related to excessive consumption of salty foods.
    "It's never too late to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle. By asking
everyone to think about their risks when it comes to heart disease and stroke,
and find ways to prevent, reduce and control them, we're encouraging the
world's population to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle," said
Dr. Beth Abramson.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads
in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the
advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living,
and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.heartandstroke.ca

    The Canadian Cardiovascular Society (www.ccs.ca) is a medical
professional association for cardiovascular physicians and scientists with a
mission to promote cardiovascular health and care through knowledge
translation, professional development, and leadership in health policy.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular
Society are the Canadian members of the Federation of the World Heart
Federation (www.worldheart.org), an international non-governmental
organization committed to global prevention and control of heart disease and
stroke. For more information on World Heart Day, see www.worldheartday.org.

For further information:

For further information: Eileen Melnick McCarthy, (613) 569-4361 ext.
318, emelnick@hsf.ca; For the Heart and Stroke Foundation media contact in
your province, please see "contact us" at www.heartandstroke.ca/media

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