The Heart and Stroke Foundation's 2011 Annual Report on Canadians' Health warns that nine out of 10 Canadians are jeopardizing the quality and length of their lives. The Foundation found that many Canadians are in denial about their risk factors for heart disease such as being overweight and being physically inactive – risk factors they can manage and control.
Each year, about 250,000 potential years of life are lost in Canada due to cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and other chronic heart-related conditions.
"Canadians know what to do to live healthier, longer lives. But there's a huge disconnect between what we think we are doing to address our risk factors and reality," says Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "The fact is that we're not managing some of the most common and deadly cardiovascular risk factors as well as we think we are. We Canadians are living with a false sense of security that could be fatal."
According to a new Heart and Stroke Foundation poll, Canadians are aware of the importance of addressing their risk factors. However, the Foundation poll also showed that Canadians have a false sense of security that is cutting their lives short. They overestimate their own healthy behaviours:
* HSF poll of 2000 Canadians conducted December, 2010; margin of error is +2.2%, 19 times out of 20
Click the hearts on the map to see the cardiovascular risk factors for your province.
Add more quality years to your life
"Living longer isn't much fun if you don't have your health," she adds. Making healthier choices and controlling the modifiable risk factors are key to extending quality years of life.
Time to take action
Canadians tend to expect that their healthcare professionals will inform them about their heart disease risks, but the Foundation poll found that many healthcare professionals didn't discuss or measure some of the important risk factors with their patients.
According to the poll, eight in 10 Canadians reported that their healthcare professional had measured their blood pressure within the past year, however only three out of 10 patients had their waists measured. For more information on how to measure your waist, go to heartandstroke.ca/healthywaists.
The poll also found that five out of 10 Canadians had not been asked by their healthcare provider about their diet or family history of heart disease or stroke. Read the full report. Says Dr. Abramson. "Both patients and physicians have a responsibility to discuss the prevention and management of chronic disease by raising these questions."
What the Heart and Stroke Foundation is doing to help Canadians
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is helping Canadians by: