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Foucs On : Heart Health

Heart Disease is Preventable

Heart disease is the number one preventable cause of premature death and disability in Canada. By changing your lifestyle, you can alter several risk factors at once, decreasing your risk for heart disease.

Try some of these tips to become more heart healthy!


Shiftwork and Heart Health

Shiftwork is not directly associated with cardiovascular disease but many bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure have been found to follow a 24 hour cycle or a circadian rhythm. Shiftwork not only disrupts these circadian rhythms, it is a major factor affecting the health of employees.

Working shifts may easily become an obstacle for those trying to be heart healthy. Shiftwork can lead to poor eating habits, reduced physical activity, smoking, stress, disrupted sleeping patterns and gastrointestinal distress all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Researchers have found that our body does not compensate for the additional stresses and strains that nightshift imposes.


The Cost of Cardiovascular Disease

In 2014, Health Canada released a report titled the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada (PDF 663 KB, 111 pages). Consider the following data revealed by the research:

  • In Canada, cardiovascular diseases cost the economy an estimated $11.7 billion/year.
  • In addition, another estimated $92.4 million in indirect costs such as lost productivity are attributable to cardiovascular disease.
  • These indirect costs are greatest for those 55-64 years of age.
  • Almost $4.3 billion is spent on drugs for cardiovascular disease a year.


Facts and Stats

  • Lack of job control increases the likelihood of heart disease by 50%. 1
  • Skipping breakfast may lead to weight gain and heart disease. 2
  • High levels of employee stress can triple the likelihood of experiencing coronary heart disease. 3
  • In Canada, cardiovascular diseases cost the economy an estimated $11.7 billion/year. 4
  • A wellness program designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in blue-collar workers saw ROI rates of $3-$6 for every $1 invested. 5
  • According to Statistics Canada, the number of working aged adults knowing they have high blood pressure increases with age. 6
Age Group % of Population Number of Canadians
12 – 19 years .5% 15,424
20 – 34 years 2.3 % 163,137
35 – 44 years 7.3 % 336,147
45 – 64 years 23.9 % 2,325,662
65 years and over 47.7% 2,424,909


  1. Marmot, M.G. et al. (1997). Contribution of job control and other risk factors to social variation in coronary heart disease incidence. The Lancet. 350(9037), 235-239.
  2. Eating Breakfast Cuts Calories and Heart Risk.
  3. Work Habits, Working Conditions and the Health Status of the Executive Cadre in the Public Service of Canada. A Synopsis of APEX's 1997 Study. (PDF 147KB, 11pages)
  4. Economic Burden of Illness in Canada (2014).
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/pubs/docs/six_step_guide.pdf (PDF 289 KB, 13 pages)
  6. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/health03a-eng.htm


Additional Resources

Here are some other websites to consider for additional information:


Other Topics

Revised: August 14, 2014


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