Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death around the world. Consequently, it is important to understand how to prevent them.

Adopt healthy life habits is the best to prevent the appearance of cardiovascular diseases. Coronary disease evolves as long as the risk factors are present. These factors are called “coronary disease risk factors”. The larger the number of risk factors, the higher the risk of developing a disease. Therefore, it is important to control these risk factors to prevent progression of the disease, and even reduce it.

Risk factors you can't control Risk factors you can control
Age Smoking
Gender Abnormal cholesterol levels
Family Background Arterial Hypertension
Ethnicity Type 2 Diabetes
Previous cardiac events Being Overweight
Lack of exercise

It is essential to act upon the risk factors that you can control. In addition to preventing the disease, controlling the risk factors can prevent the recurrence of cardiac problems in the future.

  • Smoking

    Smoking is a formidable risk factor for coronary disease. The risk of developing a coronary disease is 2 to 3 times larger for smokers than for non-smokers. The majority of victims of myocardial infarction older than 45 years are smokers. It is encouraging to know that the risk of coronary disease is reduced by 50% one year after stopping smoking.

  • Abnormal cholesterol level:

    Abnormally high or low levels of fat (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides) in the bloodstream increases the risks of coronary disease.
    How to control cholesterol (LDL and/or HDL) levels?
    • Have a balanced diet of Mediterranean type
    • Do regular physical exercise
    • Control your weight and your waist size
    • Stop smoking
    • Take your medication, if applicable

  • Arterial hypertension

    Arterial hypertension is the abnormal elevation of the blood pressure in arteries. Most often, arterial hypertension has no symptom and is discovered by chance. However, it is a major risk factor to the coronary disease.

    Arterial hypertension is very frequent in Canada, touching 40% of those aged between 56 and 65 years old (22% of adults in the world, per WHO). Regularly measuring your arterial pressure allows verifying the following target values:
    Les valeurs visées sont généralement :
    • Lower than 140/90
    • Ideally: 135/85
    • Lower than 130/80 for a diabetic person

  • Type 2 diabetes

    Diabetes is characterized by an elevation of the sugar levels in the blood. In Quebec, it is estimated that there is approximately 700 000 diabetics and that 200 000 are not aware of it. In 2014, 9% of the worldwide population suffered of diabetes (per the WHO) and the WHO predicts that the number of diabetics will double by 2025!

    For a person suffering of diabetes, it is equally important to ensure a good control over the other risk factors (arterial hypertension, smoking, cholesterol).

    How to control type 2 diabetes?
    • Have a balanced diet and follow a doctor's or a nutritionist's instructions
    • Be active
    • Take your medication, if applicable

  • Overweight

    Obesity is defined by an excess of fatty mass. Obesity, particularly, abdominal obesity, is an important risk factor of coronary disease since it has harmful consequences on the heart.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

    The risk of suffering of a coronary disease is twice higher in sedentary people than it is in active people. Sedentary lifestyle is responsible of 1 death in 10 worldwide.

  • Stress

    Even though stress can sometimes be a good thing, too much stress can harm your health and increase the risks of cardiac diseases. The link between stress and cardiac diseases is not completely understood, but certain people that are too stressed, or stressed for prolonged periods, can show higher cholesterol levels, higher arterial pressure and be exposed to atherosclerosis.
    If you are exposed to a lot of stress, it can be difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Instead of including physical activities to reduce stress, some people react by eating excessively, eating unhealthy food, drinking too much alcohol or smoking: behaviors that all increase the risks of cardiac diseases and strokes.

Many studies suggest that 75% to 80% of chronic diseases can be avoided by modifying our lifestyle! If you have questions, talk to your doctor.