Each year, more than 60,000 Canadians suffer their first heart attack.
William Osler Health System’s Dr. Hussain shares his tips to keep your heart
healthy and to help prevent heart disease:
1. Choose a heart-healthy diet.
Be kind to your heart and consider a Mediterranean or plant-based diet that incorporates (if you
are not allergic) more vegetables, berries, nuts, fish, olive oil, whole grains, beans, chickpeas
and lentils into your diet daily. Avoid sugary drinks and foods, refined carbohydrates, meats,
saturated fats, fried foods, packaged foods and processed foods. Eating a well-balanced diet
will provide your heart and body with lots of needed antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
2. Quit smoking and vaping.
Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease as the chemicals in tobacco can
damage the heart and blood vessels and lead to lower oxygen levels in your blood, increased
blood pressure and heart rate. The good news is that the risk of heart disease starts to drop as
soon as a day after quitting smoking and/or vaping. No matter how long or how much you
smoked, you’ll see the benefits as soon as you quit. Visit www.ontario.ca/page/support-quit-
smoking for more information on the many supports available.
3. Know the signs of a heart attack.
A heart attack can often mimic common mild health issues like indigestion or muscle cramps,
so it is important to know the signs. Watch for chest discomfort (pressure, squeezing, fullness
or pain, burning or heaviness), upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea
and/or light-headedness. If you experience any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
4. Know your heart attack risks.
Household chores like shovelling snow, vacuuming, cutting grass and gardening can increase
your risk of a heart attack. Always start slow, complete your chores in moderation, and
remember to stop immediately and call 9-1-1 if you experience the signs of a heart attack.
Remember to ask your family doctor to screen you for heart attack/disease risk if necessary.
5. Hands-Only CPR.
Hands-Only CPR could save a life. Hands-Only CPR involves chest compressions by pushing
hard and fast on the centre of the chest, at a rate of at least 100 times per minute. It is a
potentially lifesaving option that can be used by people not trained in conventional CPR. You
can learn more by visiting https://www.heartandstroke.ca/how-you-can-help/learn-cpr.