Heart And Stroke Foundation Hopes New Report Is 'A Wake-Up Call'

The local branch of the Heart and Stroke Foundation is hoping a new report will get people's attention.

A report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal identified the areas of Ontario with the highest risk levels of heart disease and stroke.

The study followed 5.5-million adults between the ages of 40 and 79, examining heart attacks, strokes and death from cardiovascular issues.

Based on the 14 Local Health Integration Networks across Ontario, the Erie-St.Clair LIHN was listed as having the most cardiovascular health issues.

The rate in this region is 4.8 to 5.7 events out of every 1,000 people.

The study found those living in the least healthy areas were less likely to have an annual physical and fewer visits to their family doctor. They also tended to be obese, smoke and consume fewer fruits and vegetables.

Executive Director of the local branch of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Holly Kirk-MacLean, says a key indicator is that education would be key.

"An unexpected group in the population is also more at risk than ever before," says Kirk-MacLean. "For women, heart disease is now the number one killer for those 35 years of age and over, globally — more than all cancers combined."

She says the Heart and Stroke Foundation website has a tool to assess your own risk, based on your your current lifestyle habits. "It says here's what you could modify, here are things you can control and change to increase the life expectancy to help your heart health."

Kirk MacLean says this kind of report helps bring attention to the issue of heart attack and stroke prevention.