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Preventing cardiac disease and protecting the heart

Health Tips and Tricks from Dr. Kirshenbaum, Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Principal Investigator, Cardiac Gene Biology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum stopped by The Health Report on 680 CJOB with co-hosts Greg Mackling and Vince Barletta, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s President & CEO, to chat about Heart Month.

Dr. Kirshenbaum works at the Albrechtsen Research Centre on the St. Boniface Hospital campus. His lab at the Institute of Cardiac Sciences focuses on understanding molecular pathways and genetic factors that underlie cardiac growth control and heart cell death.

Here are his top tips and tricks for preventing cardiac disease and protecting your heart:

  • Exercise and Physical Activity:
    People who are not physically active are at greater risk than active people for developing heart disease, such as heart attack or stroke. Moderate physical exercise is recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease. This can be in the form of walking, running, hiking – essentially any activity that will increase heart rate and circulation in the body. It is important to avoid long periods of time sitting and to maintain an active lifestyle for good cardiovascular health. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking on any physical activity to make sure your heart can handle it.
  • Lifestyle:
    Lifestyle is a major determinant and risk factor for heart disease. Excess alcohol consumption and smoking are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke. To reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, doctors recommend reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking. Nowadays, there are many excellent treatments and therapies to help people quit smoking and curtail alcohol consumption.
  • Stress:
    Believe it or not, stress is a major risk and trigger for heart disease – notably, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Try to reduce stress through lifestyle changes such as exercising, yoga, meditation, taking on a hobby, mindfulness, and other activities that take your mind off daily stress.
  • Diet:
    Diet alone is perhaps one of the most important risk factors for developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other cardiovascular diseases. Stay away from fast foods, and embrace diets low in sodium, saturated fats, and carbohydrates (simple or refined sugars). Simple changes to what you eat are helpful in reducing weight gain, high blood pressure, stress, and the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Health Education:
    Many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by reading about cardiovascular disease. There are many excellent books on heart health awareness and how to modify or prevent heart disease. Educate yourself about the risk factors and ways to prevent heart disease.

Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This month – and every month – make sure to follow these tips to protect your heart and reduce the risk of cardiac disease. Thanks to Dr. Kirshenbaum for giving us a dose of good health on The Health Report.

Missed The Health Report live? Catch up on past episodes here and don’t forget to tune in to 680 CJOB on Sundays at 11 a.m. for more health tips and tricks from St. Boniface Hospital experts.