Canvassers raising money for Heart Month

Every seven minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease of a stroke, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

February is Heart Month and local officials are trying to spread the word about prevention.

Heart disease and stroke take one in three Canadians before their time. They are the number one killer of women – taking more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined.

This February, more than 100,000 volunteers will rally together across Canada to raise life-giving funds to give Canadians longer, fuller lives. Every donation – whether at the door, online, or through an event – is giving people more time – for more experiences, more memories and more living.

“We have about 1,200 canvassers knocking on doors all over Central Alberta right now in hopes of raising money for Heart Month,” said Karen Jackman, fund development coordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundations of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavit.

This year’s goal is to raise $113,000. Last year the Central Alberta office raised $98,082 during Heart Month.

“The money raised goes towards supporting life giving research, advocacy, health promotion and education programs.”

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s web site, cardiovascular diseases are defined as diseases and injuries of the cardiovascular system: the heart, the blood vessels of the heart and the system of blood vessels (veins and arteries) throughout the body and within the brain. Stroke is the result of a blood flow problem in the brain. It is considered a form of cardiovascular disease.

Over the past 40 years the rates of heart disease and stroke have steadily declined. The rate has declined 25% over the past 10 years, 50% over the past 20 years and 70% between 1956 and 2002.

In 2008 cardiovascular disease accounted for 29% of all deaths in Canada (69,648 deaths – or more than 69,500), 28% of all male deaths and 29.7% of all female deaths. That same year 54% of all cardiovascular deaths were due to ischemic heart disease, 20% were to stroke and 23% were to heart attack.

Of every 100 people who have a stroke 15 die, 10 recover completely, 25 recover with a minor impairment or disability, 40 are left with a moderate to severe impairment and 10 are so severely disabled they require long-term care.

For every minute delay in treating a stroke, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells, 13.8 billion synapses, and 12 km of axonal fibres. Each hour in which treatment does not occur, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging.

In addition, nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and/or diabetes).

“We really want to raise awareness. It’s about being healthy, staying active and not smoking.”

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