Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, with 90 percent of Canadians having at least one risk factor for the disease (1). Cardiovascular disease includes conditions such as angina, stroke, and heart attack.
CVD is caused when “plaque breaks away from the artery wall (and causes) a clot to form which may lodge in an artery, cutting off blood supply to the heart (resulting in heart attack) or brain (leading to stroke),” stated the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (1).
In plain terms, narrowed or blocked blood vessels cause cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): Are You at Risk?
Being aware of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease could save your life, or someone else’s. Risk factors for CVD are:
- A high-fat diet
- High blood pressure
These risk factors can cause blocked blood vessels which may lead to stroke or heart attack.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of CVD can include…
— “Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
— Shortness of breath
— Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
— Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back (2).”
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical attention immediately.
How to Prevent or Lower Your Risk of Developing CVD
Cardiovascular disease isn’t necessarily inevitable. In some cases, it can be prevented by living a “heart healthy” lifestyle. The American Heart Association said that taking seven simple actions can lower your risk of developing CVD (3):
- Get and stay active
- Keep an eye on cholesterol
- Eat a healthier diet
- Control blood pressure
- Keep blood sugar stable
- Get to a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
These are not easy things to do. Many people who smoke, are overweight, have out-of-control blood sugar, etc., need support from medical professionals in order to reach their health goals. This is where a physiotherapist comes in.
Physiotherapy Prevents Cardiovascular Disease, Helps People Who Have CVD
Physiotherapy is a powerful weapon against CVD. Physiopedia stated,
“Aerobic exercise increases people’s cardiac output, maximum heart rate, endurance, and arterial blood flow. It may also enhance their blood lipid profiles. For people who already have cardiovascular disease, prescribed aerobic exercise programs by physiotherapists can reduce their risk long-term (4).”
Physiotherapy helps individuals with CVD control symptoms and increase their quality of life. It can also prevent cardiovascular disease by getting people in the habit of being more active. Living a more active lifestyle has a ripple effect and promotes…
- A healthy weight
- Stable blood sugar levels
- Controlled cravings
- Lowered blood pressure
Those who want to prevent CVD or reverse/lessen its symptoms must get and stay active. A physiotherapy is the perfect individual to facilitate this.
Worried About Cardiovascular Disease? Contact a Physiotherapist.
Are you at risk of developing cardiovascular disease? Or, do you already have CVD? Either way, physiotherapy can benefit you. If you live near Winnipeg, contact Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics to learn more about how physiotherapy can help you control your CVD symptoms or prevent cardiovascular disease altogether.
If you’ve suffered a heart attack, check out our blog article The Link Between Physiotherapy and Heart Attack Recovery.
- Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Cardiovascular disease. http://physiocanhelp.ca/symptoms-conditions/cardiovascular-disease/.
- Mayo Clinic. Heart disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118.
- American Heart Association. Make the effort to prevent heart disease with life’s simple 7. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Make-the-Effort-to-Prevent-Heart-Disease-with-Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_443750_Article.jsp#.
- Physiopedia. Cardiovascular disease. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Cardiovascular_Disease.