National Heart Month – A Brief History, Facts, & Why You Need Insurance
Heart disease does not affect adults exclusively. It is actually happening to younger adults at a much faster rate. This is partly due to the fact that conditions that lead to it are increasingly occurring at younger ages.
Heart disease can happen at virtually any age, and so do the conditions leading to it. High rates of high blood pressure and obesity among young people (ages 35 to 65) are putting them at greater risk of developing heart disease earlier in life.
National Heart Month
February is Heart Month in Canada, the US, and the UK, which is the perfect time to learn about your risk of heart disease and what you can do to help your heart. The whole month is dedicated to encouraging everybody to take better care of their hearts and fight heart disease.
Heart disease is still one of the leading killers in Canada and one of the most preventable causes of death. Below is a brief look at how far heart care has come since Heart Month was introduced, what you can do to care for your heart, and why it is important to have insurance.
History of Heart Month
The National Heart Foundation of Canada was created by Canadian health advocates in 1952. The goal was placing heart health at the top of the public health agenda, educating Canadians about heart health, and empowering researchers to win the battle against heart disease.
1958 was when the Heart Month campaign started when Dr. Wilfred Bigelow leads the National Heart Foundation of Canada in a campaign aimed at raising $600,000 for heart research. Canada has come a long way from those early days of the initial Heart Month campaign.
Today, over 600 full-time employees and 140,000 volunteers work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to fight against heart disease in all of Canada. More importantly, the average Canadian citizen today has a much better sense of what is and what isn’t good for heart health.
Heart Disease by the Numbers Today
Why is heart health so important? The number of fatalities due to heart disease and stroke might have dropped by over 75 percent since the Foundation started its work in 1952, but the struggle continues. Heart disease and stroke are still one of the leading killers in Canada.
Heart disease and stroke actually claims a Canadian life every 17 minutes, and 9 out of 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. 80 percent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable, which is why it is important to practice good heart health.
You May Be at Risk
The behaviors and conditions that typically put people at risk are increasingly appearing at younger ages including:
–High Blood Cholesterol:
High levels of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of developing heart disease. Eating unhealthy foods, having obesity or diabetes, and not getting enough exercise can lead to high blood cholesterol levels, which are unhealthy.
–High Blood Pressure:
About 4.6 million Canadians of all ages have high blood pressure, and about half of those don’t actually have it under control. One of the greatest risks for heart disease along with other harmful conditions such as stroke is having uncontrolled high blood pressure.
–Unhealthy Eating Patterns:
Many people in Canada, including children, consume too much sodium in the form of salt, which leads to higher blood pressure. Fortunately, it is possible to lower blood pressure by replacing sodium-rich foods with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Staying physically active is great for keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy. Unfortunately, most people in Canada don’t meet the physical activity guidelines for getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.
Over 5 million people in Canada are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking every day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.
Diabetes leads to elevated blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerve that control the heart muscle. As of 2017, 8.4 percent of people in Canada report being diagnosed with diabetes.
Carrying extra weight tends to put a lot of stress on the heart. About 25.8 percent of people in Canada are considered obese, which makes the country one of the most overweight in the world.
How to Improve Heart Health
Fortunately, it is not all gloom and doom when it comes to heart health since you can do something about it including:
Ensure that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. Add exercise into your daily routine; aim for brisk walks at least thrice weekly. Try to move a bit every day and stay active.
–Eating the Right Foods:
Nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and omega-3 rich foods such as salmon and tuna are all great choices. Watch how much sodium (salt) you consume or add to your foods, and watch out for how much saturated fats are in the foods you consume.
–Watching Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels:
It is important to watch your blood pressure and cholesterol and take the right steps to keep them under control if they are elevated. If your physician prescribes medication for the conditions, take them without fail.
If you are able to, quit smoking, but if not try cutting down. Quitting or reducing your smoking can lower your risk for developing heart disease and other undesirable conditions such as stroke.
It is essential to go for your annual doctor check-ups without fail to keep up with your state of health.
Heart Disease: Associated Costs
The average annualized medical costs for people suffering from heart disease in Canada range from $1,683 to $1,776. The mean hospitalization costs for a patient suffering from any heart-related ailment range from $1,743 to $4,677. Besides these costs, there’s a reduced capacity to work and reduced income, which is why health insurance is so important.
Why Do You Need Health Insurance?
Heart disease is an expensive condition to treat or manage as clearly explained above. It is obviously important to take care of your body by following the tips and advice provided here. However, you still need insurance due to the following reasons:
Rising Medical Costs:
The medical costs, especially those associated with the treatment and management of heart disease in Canada have dramatically increased in recent years. So, in case of a medical emergency, patients find themselves spending their savings, which can negatively affect their future plans.
The shift in Canadians’ lifestyles has left them more vulnerable to a wide variety of health disorders. Hectic work schedules, commuting, poor quality of food, and wrong eating habits have all increased the risk of Canadians developing health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
Limited Out-of-Pocket Costs:
Health plans typically have what’s referred to as an out-of-pocket maximum. Once that amount is reached through deductibles and other cost-sharing, the insurance company covers the rest of the costs, which includes what you would spend on deductibles and copays for medical prescriptions and services.
Taking good care of your heart starting now is one of the best ways for you to celebrate Heart Month. It is also the perfect gift for the people who are close to your heart and depend on you. The ongoing drop in heart disease and stroke since 1952 is one trend you should look forward to being part of.
Make sure that you take care of your heart health for your sake and that of your loved ones for the long haul by investing in a health insurance plan. Blue Country Insurance offers the best insurance plans in Canada. Contact Blue Country today for more information and your no-obligation quote.
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