The importance of taking a first aid and CPR class cannot underestimated. These critical skills can improve the odds of survival during a cardiovascular emergency. In conjunction with being properly trained and ensuring those in your community have the appropriate skills; monitoring your own heart health can be as important.
What You Can Do to Lower your Risk of Heart Attack:
There are two types of risk factors that play a role in whether you may get a heart attack or not.
Controllable and Non-Controllable.
Non-Controllable heart attack risk factors are age, gender, and heredity (do you have a family history of heart attacks?)
Controllable heart attack risk factors are those you can do something about and include:
- Don’t smoke
- Lower your cholesterol
- Manage your weight
- Keep physically active
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Reduce stress
- Manage your diabetes
- Limit alcohol consumption
What You Can Do to Lower your Risk of Atherosclerosis:
This brings up the topic of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol (LDL) from saturated fats found in red meats, cheese and other dairy, tend to lay plaque in the arteries when there is too much fat. The good cholesterol (HDL) acts like a scavenger – it eats up the LDL cholesterol – which helps the blood flow through the arteries.
It’s important that you make the same lifestyle changes that you do for High Blood pressure:
- Eat healthy non-processed foods including more vegetables and fruits,
- Eat healthy fat (with HDL cholesterol) like fish twice a week, avocados, soya, olive oil
- Reduce intake of red meats, fatty and processed meats, cheese and dairy products (those with LDL cholesterol)
- Lose weight
- Get more exercise every way you can
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on alcohol
- Take a CPR course
What You Can Do to Lower your Risk of High Blood Pressure:
There are things you can do to improve your blood pressure, but if it is pre-high 120/80 to 140/90, or high, 140/90 to 190/100, you need to talk to your doctor.
A variety of factors affect your blood pressure – some you can change and others you have no control over. Factors you can’t change are age, gender, and family history. If you are male, you have a higher chance for high blood pressure than females. The older you get the more likely you are to have high blood pressure. If family members have had high blood pressure, your chances of having it are increased.
Factors you can change are lifestyle choices. Most of us have an idea of what they are and also, that if they are habits, they’re often hard to break. But something as simple as cutting back on your salt intake can make a big difference in a fairly short time.
The other areas requiring change in lifestyle are losing excess weight, exercise and eating heart-healthy foods. These methods do not require drugs to lower your blood pressure.
Remember that you are at higher risk of high blood pressure if you:
- Eat too much salt
- Don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables
- Are not active enough
- Are overweight
- Drink too much alcohol
What You Can Do to Lower your Risk of a Stroke/TIA:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise every day
- Know your blood pressure
- Stop smoking
Living a healthy lifestyle and being trained in first aid and CPR is great way to look after yourself and the ones you love. Cardiovascular disease and emergencies are the leading cause of death in Canada. St John Ambulance offers a variety of first aid CPR courses that meet a diverse range of needs, skill levels and budgets.