Why aren’t female heart attack survivors showing up for cardiac rehab?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

After a cardiac event, a 2-6 month program called cardiac rehabilitation can help survivors gradually improve their physical fitness, learn about nutrition, meet other heart patients, and get support to quit smoking,  lose weight or make other heart-healthy lifestyle changes to improve heart health. Cardiac rehab can reduce mortality by 25-40%, reduces angina symptoms, increases functional capacity, improves lipid (cholesterol) levels, reduces smoking by 25%, enhances psychological well-being, and improves exercise tolerance for all – including the elderly, frail or people with congestive heart failure.

Cardiac rehabilitation really works!  We know that completing a program of cardiac rehab can be very effective in reinforcing improved habits.  A 2001 University of Calgary research team lead by Dr. Kathryn King found that six months after finishing cardiac rehab, participants demonstrated higher health maintenance expectations and overall behaviour performance scores – and these indicators continued to improve over time.

But when I did a 4-month stint at cardiac rehabilitation after my own heart attack, I was vastly outnumbered by male participants, and was also one of the youngest in the group by at least two decades. Where did all the women go?  Continue reading “Why aren’t female heart attack survivors showing up for cardiac rehab?”

A kindergarten kid’s guide to heart disease

Ah, summertime.  And the livin’ is easy, according to Porgy and Bess – and to all school teachers.  I know you’re out there, you teachers, lolling in dappled-shade hammocks and enjoying those margaritas for the next month or so.  But here’s an early reminder for you teachers to consider when you go back to the classroom:  Heart Smart Kids.   It’s a unique and important program to help both teachers and parents educate children as young as five about the importance of good heart health.

It’s never too early for kidlets to start learning about our #1 health threat – especially since we know that up to 80% of heart disease is preventable, and that heart disease is 20-30 years in the making.  The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon has developed this fun way to inspire heart-healthy habits in our children and families. All program information is current and has been approved by Heart and Stroke Foundation experts for children in grades K-6.

And for free kid-friendly, heart-smart recipes and fun activity tips every month, you can subscribe to Parent He@lthline, a free e-newsletter for your entire family. Continue reading “A kindergarten kid’s guide to heart disease”