Heart Month with Dr. Klug

By Bridget Burling

Why is Heart Month important?

February is Heart Month, a time to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health and what we can do to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults according to 2012/2013 data and is one of the leading causes of death in Canada.

What are cardiovascular diseases?

Cardiovascular disease refers to a variety of problems that arise within the heart and blood vessels. Coronary artery disease, whereby atherosclerosis causes narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, can result in heart attacks. Other important congenital and acquired disease categories directly involve the heart muscle, valves, and electrical system.

How has COVID-19 affected patients with cardiovascular diseases?

People who have a significant heart condition are at higher risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19. It is important that cardiac patients remain compliant with their medications. The most effective ways to avoid acquiring COVID-19 are wearing masks, hand washing and isolating themselves from others. Vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of infected patients developing severe illness but should not be regarded as a replacement for other measures that prevent infection and spread in the community.

What are warning signs that you or a loved one should go to the hospital?

Common warning signs include but are not limited to chest discomfort, shortness of breath, palpitations and dizziness or loss of consciousness.

What are 5 tips to improve your cardiovascular health? 

  1. Optimize body weight BMI 18.5—24.9 kg/m2
  2. Make heart-healthy food choices such as a low salt Mediterranean plant-based diet
  3. At least 150 min of aerobic exercise per week
  4. Don’t start smoking and quit if you already do. There are programs available to help
  5. Have your cholesterol profile and blood pressure checked by a health care practitioner