February is Heart Month!
- Every seven minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke.
- Heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.
- 9.7% of Canadians are in ideal cardiovascular health, 53.8% are in intermediate health, and 36.5% are in poor health. 
Even though these are some scary statistics, there are some risk factors that you cannot control such as age, gender, family history or ethnicity. However, there are a number of risk factors that you can do something about:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Physical activity
What can you do to control your risk to heart disease and stroke?
There are 8 steps to prevent heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic by using a heart-healthy diet.
- Control your portion size
- Eat more vegetables and fruits
- Select whole grains
- Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol
- Choose low-fat protein sources
- Reduce the sodium in your food
- Plan ahead: create daily meals
- Allow yourself an occasional treat
How do you know if you are currently at risk?
The Heart & Stroke Foundation has created a Risk Assessment that you can complete online. The Risk Assessment helps you find out what is putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. You can create an account or complete the assessment anonymously. The questions regarding your health and lifestyle are simple and take less than 10 minutes to complete.
To complete the assessment, visit: Heart & Stroke Risk Assessment
Did You Know?
You may have a soft spot in your heart for a family pet. Through STRATA Select, you are eligible for discounts on Pet Health Insurance through Petplan Pet Insurance®? You have a choice of annual coverage limits and may be eligible for a discount on monthly premiums. Check it out!
 Statistics Canada. (2011c, October). Mortality, summary list of causes 2008.
 Conference Board of Canada. (2010, February). The Canadian Heart Health Strategy: Risk Factors and Future Cost Implications Report.
 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). CANHEART Adult Health Index.
 Mayo Clinic. Heart Healthy Diet. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702)