May is Hypertension Awareness Month

Did you know hypertension is the leading preventable cause of death around the world? If left untreated, it can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.

In recognition of Hypertension Awareness Month, MyHealth Centre is pleased to provide the following same-week, OHIP-covered cardiology services at more than 15 accredited facilities in Ontario:

  • Cardiology Consultation
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Exercise Stress Testing (GXT)
  • Holter Monitoring
  • Nuclear Cardiology (MPI)
  • Stress Echocardiography
  • Vascular Ultrasound


February is Heart Health Month

Did you know approximately 2.4 million Canadians have heart disease?

Heart disease generally means the heart is not working properly. Ischemic (or coronary) heart disease is the most common type, which refers to the narrowing of the heart’s arteries by a build-up of plaque. This restricts blood and oxygen throughout the body and can lead to a heart attack.

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. Many risk factors are preventable, such as smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Some risk factors are unfortunately beyond our control, such as age, gender, ethnicity and family history.

At MyHealth Centre, we offer comprehensive heart care with state-of-the-art technology. Our diagnostic cardiac program includes:

  • Cardiology Consultation
  • Dietitian and Nutrition
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Holter Monitoring
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
  • Pulmonary Function Test
  • Stress Test
  • Vascular Ultrasound
  • Ambulatory Blood Pressure


The three best lifestyle changes for Canadians with heart disease

By Jane Edgar, Freelance Writer

Approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults have heart disease. This makes the condition the 2nd leading cause of death in the country. Despite these discouraging numbers, there are plenty of lifestyle changes that can positively affect one’s prognosis. Aside from doctor-recommended tips (e.g. refrain from smoking, limit alcohol use), there are other key strategies that can be used to fight against the effects of this devastating disease. Here are three of the best lifestyle changes that nearly all Canadians with heart disease can begin using immediately:

Switch to a low-carb diet

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, diets that feature higher-fat, low-carb meals can actually be healthy for those with heart disease. In fact, a group known as Canadian Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition (which represents 4,500 physicians) formally backed and promoted low-carb eating earlier this year. They spoke against the country’s current guidelines of a high-carb, low-fat diet, citing the many benefits of low-carb diets for patients. If an individual eats healthy sources of protein and avoids red meat, low-carb diets can lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and help the heart overall. When it comes to choosing between keto vs. Atkins diets, one’s individual health must be taken into consideration. If unsure, speaking with a nutrition professional can help establish which way of eating is best for you.

Walk as your primary source of exercise

Nearly every health professional will advise heart disease patients to exercise to some degree. While there are many excellent ways to get the necessary amount of activity, research has shown that one workout stands out above the rest. For those who have heart disease, walking produces numerous cardiovascular benefits. With minimal time invested (30 minutes/5 times per week), Harvard researchers report that “walking reduce[s] the risk of cardiovascular events by 31%, [and] cut[s] the risk of dying by 32%.” Unlike aerobic activities that can prove to be too strenuous, walking provides the perfect amount of physical activity to those who wish to improve their heart health.

Omega-3 fatty acids

In addition to having a diet rich in nutrients, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids is wise for those who have heart disease. Although it is a fat, omega-3 provides a tremendous amount of benefits for the heart. The Mayo Clinic reports that this substance has the power to “decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk, and reduce irregular heartbeats.” One great way to consume omega-3 fatty acids is by eating certain types of fish, such as salmon.

Among the many things that you can do to improve your health after receiving a heart disease diagnosis, the three strategies noted above are some of the best choices available. As always, before making any significant changes, speak with your doctor to ensure that your choices are right for your individual situation.

June is Stroke Awareness Month

Did you know a stroke can happen at any age, and more commonly affects women? According to Heart & Stroke Foundation:

  • The risk of stroke is higher during pregnancy.
  • The risk of stroke increases during menopause.
  • Elderly women are especially vulnerable to both the likelihood and severity of a stroke.

Knowing the FAST signs (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) of a stroke is important because the faster you receive medical attention, the better their chance of minimizing damage to your health:

  • F: Face drooping – Ask the person to smile and see if one side is drooping.
  • A: Arm weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms.
  • S: Speech difficulty – People having a stroke may slur their speech or have trouble speaking at all.
  • T: Time to call 911!

Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of blood flow in the arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).

At MyHealth Centre, our diagnostic stroke tests include:

  • Cardiology Consultation
  • Echocardiogram
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
  • PET/CT Scan
  • Vascular Ultrasound


Top 10 reasons to consult a Cardiologist


If your family-care doctor recommends you see a cardiologist, do it. Don’t put it off. You’ll regret it.


This is pretty much a given. You can see a full list of heart disease symptoms below. If you have any doubts about whether or not you are experiencing a symptom, however, get checked out.


If anyone in your family has or has had heart problems, you should be aware of heart disease symptoms and consider talking to a cardiologist about them.


Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol in your blood. The higher your total cholesterol, the greater your risk for heart disease (a cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher)


You have high blood pressure or a high systolic number. The systolic number on your blood pressure reading is the first number. (For example, if your reading is 120/80 (120 over 80), your systolic blood pressure is 120.)


Smoking is a huge risk factor for heart disease. It lowers the flow of oxygen to the heart and increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clotting as well as damages the cells lining the arteries.


Unfortunately, diabetes can contribute to heart disease. If you experience symptoms of heart problems and are diabetic, you should see a cardiologist.


Preeclampsia is often a hidden risk factor for heart disease. The two times a woman is most likely to develop heart disease is during pregnancy or post-menopause.


You are over the age of 40 and starting a new exercise program. You may already be working with a doctor on being more active, but a cardiologist can check your heart health and recommend exercises that would be good for your heart.


Believe it or not, gum disease can happen when the body is inflamed. Patients with swollen gums often have heart disease.

Learn more about cardiology consultations

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Many of us are familiar with the symptoms of heart diseases, such as a heart attack or stroke. However, there are other symptoms you should be aware of:

  • Severe pressure, squeezing, pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Pain or discomfort that spreads into the shoulders, neck, arms or jaw
  • Chest pain that becomes more intense
  • Chest pain that isn’t relieved by rest
  • Chest pain combined with the following symptoms:
    • Sweating, cool, clammy skin and/or paleness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
    • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, upper back and/or chest
  • Hoarseness because of pressure on the vocal cords
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Low blood pressure

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or if your primary care doctor recommends you see a cardiologist, don’t wait… Your heart is the most important muscle of your body, so take care of it!

Learn more about our Heart Health services