Noted Canadian cardiologist Dr. Clyde Yancy is suggesting seven lifestyle changes to achieve optimal health potential.
Delivering the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecture at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver Sunday, he will tell delegates that people who follow the seven simple steps to a healthy life can expect to live an additional 40 to 50 years after the age of 50.
Managing diabetes, knowing and controlling cholesterol levels and blood pressure, following a healthy diet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, getting active, and forswearing tobacco are the steps advocated by Dr. Yancy, a professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also the past-president of the American Heart Association.
"By following these steps, we can compress life-threatening disease into the final stages of life and maintain quality of life for the longest possible time." He predicts that, if we act now, we can reverse the tide by 2020.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every year in Canada about 250,000 potential years of life are lost due to heart disease and stroke, which are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada.
While this goal of optimal health has been achieved by fewer than 10 per cent of the population, "it demonstrates the striking potential that prevention has if it is broadly embraced," says Dr. Yancy. "We know how to prevent heart disease and stroke - we now need to build the tools to empower our citizens to manage their risk and prevent heart disease."
Dr. Yancy calls on governments to invest in steady and focused prevention strategies. He says that necessary initiatives include a change in current sodium policies, continued progress in tobacco control initiatives, increased green space, and health education.