February is heart health month and I just wanted to take this opportunity to talk more about cardiovascular health and what we can do to lower our risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death among Canadians but there are a number of things that we can do to help lower our risk. This includes making healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, not smoking, eating a well-balanced diet and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol.
Being of south Asian decent (people with ethnic origins from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, similar genetics on those from Guyana) we are four times more likely to develop heart disease and on average 10 years earlier than other ethnicities. This group is more likely to have a heart attack before the age of 50 years and have the highest prevalence of diabetes and insulin resistance. Diet and Lifestyle certainly contribute but a larger part is our genetic make-up and metabolic profiles.
Did you know that a routine eye exam can help identify signs of elevated blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol? During an eye health exam we can take a direct look at the blood vessels without doing anything invasive and this can help detect cardiovascular or even diabetic changes. If you do have any of these conditions, we can also monitor them in your eyes as Alberta Health Care covers medically necessary visits for diabetes. We communicate our findings back to you general practitioners so everyone is in the loop when it comes to your eyes.
If you have not had an eye exam recently, this would be the time to consider one as we encourage everyone to make a small change towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier heart! Book your eye exam today.