Heart failure affects one in three Canadians

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The heart is an incredible organ. It is responsible for pumping blood filled with oxygen, nutrients and other essential compounds through our body; pumping through a 97,000 km long network of arteries, veins and capillaries. On average, every day the heart beats more than 100,000 times and pumps more than 700 liters of blood.

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Following my column last week, Jessica Weingarten of Heart & Stroke contacted me to provide up-to-date statistical information. She indicated that in Canada, 750,000 people live with heart failure and that 100,000 people are diagnosed with this incurable disease each year. According to a new survey from Heart & Stroke, heart failure affects one in three Canadians, either because they have it themselves or because it affects a family member or close friend.

Here are the important steps you need to take to help you or a loved one manage heart failure:

· Take your medications regularly as instructed by your health care provider.

· Weigh yourself every day in the morning and write it down. If you gain or lose 2 kg or more in 2 days or 2.5 kg or more in a week, contact your heart failure clinic or family doctor.

· Do not drink more than 1.5 to 2 liters (6 to 8 regular glasses) of fluids per day. This includes all beverages such as coffee, tea, water, juices and milk as well as soups. At least half of your daily fluid intake should be water. Your health care provider may ask you to adjust your fluid intake based on your body’s blood sodium levels. · Eat less than 2000 mg of salt (sodium) per day from all foods (read food labels, pay attention to sources of sodium in processed foods). If you’ve also been diagnosed with high blood pressure, reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 mg or less per day. Talk to your health care provider about the sodium level that’s right for you.

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· Become more physically active to strengthen your heart and improve blood circulation. Be sure to discuss your physical activity with your healthcare team before starting any program or new routine. Take part in activities such as walking at your own pace. Increase your activity level a little each day. · Get ​​enough sleep and manage your stress level. Identify all sources of stress so you can take steps to address the issue with your healthcare team.

· Watch for depression and anxiety, as people with heart failure are more likely to suffer from this. Learning to recognize it and when to ask for help is important.

Eat a healthy diet by choosing plenty of vegetables and fruits, eating whole grains frequently, choosing low-fat meats and alternatives prepared with little sodium or added fat, and low-fat milk and alternatives fat (like soy milk). · Eat plenty of fiber. Due to restricted fluid levels and certain medications that you may be prescribed (such as diuretics), you may experience constipation, which can put strain on your heart.

· Reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day. Alcohol can interfere with medications, raise blood pressure, or affect your heart, so it’s important to discuss this issue with your doctor. In some types of heart failure cases, alcohol should be avoided completely.

· Reduce or avoid caffeine intake to prevent increased heart rate or abnormal heart rhythms. · Become a non-smoker.

· Get ​​your flu shot every year and get your pneumococcal shot once in your life. I guess the current Covid-19 vaccines are also recommended.

Speaking of “hearts” – Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

The information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert, CCSH, 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at https://ccsh.ca or email me at [email protected], or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and advice. ‘aid. Community Care is proud to be a member agency of United Way. Partially funded by Health East Ontario.

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