By Carlie Connolly
This month is heart month, which focuses around what the Heart and Stroke Foundation calls a person-to-person campaign, and it is the largest fundraiser of the year.
In the 2015 Report on the health of Canadians, some were polled to find out how far they have come in heart disease prevention. 95% of Canadians who have had a heart attack and get to a hospital will survive compared to in the 1950s, where 65-70% survived.
In 1952, cardio vascular disease was responsible for almost half of all deaths in Canada and now it has been almost cut in half to 27% of deaths in Canada as opposed to 46%.
“Now the average patient is older, still male dominated, but much less so. they still tend to be overweight, many have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, but these will mostly likely be managed,” said Dr. Eldon Smith in the health report.
Today, heart disease is no longer just a man’s issue, as there are more women dying from the disease than men and it’s a leading cause of death. The risk for women increases after menopause. Even with the decline in death rates, it seems to be slower in women. In 2011 according to Statistics Canada, 33,196 women died and 32, 982 men died of heart disease.
Now, 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.
The risk factors people can take in preventing a stroke or heart disease are eating a healthy diet, being physically active, smoke free, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight.
For the Heart Month Campaign, Desjardins Insurance will be partnering with The Heart and Stroke Foundation and has pledged to triple match anything that is donated online. People can donate online at heartandstroke.ca.
Last year, $125,000 was raised with the campaign and this year, the goal is $132,000.
A lot of the money that they raise locally goes to research whether that’s research provincially or nationally.
“We’ve done amazing things over the last 50, 60 years that been able to bring down the death rate by 75% of heart and stroke disease,” said Josie Doll, Southern Alberta area manager for Heart and Stroke Foundation. They are also selling red toques for $10.00 which is all a part of the entire heart month campaign.
They also have local programming that happens, going through school programs like heart healthy kids programs, blood pressure clinics and a large amount of information that they get out when they can through other agencies and presentations in the community.
“We’re out there. We want to raise the money that we need to really make a difference in this disease,” she said.
Although the outcomes and quality of life have dramatically improved, the estimated 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure shows that work still needs to be done.
Since its beginning in 1952, the Foundation has raised over $1.4 billion in vital heart and stroke research. Last year, around $34 million in research across Canada was made. Over the next decade, the goal is to raise $300 million for research.
The research continues to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through its generous support.