Unfortunately, heart disease is still one of the leading causes of premature death for both men and women in Canada. It’s important to address ways to identify and react if you’re faced with a heart-related emergency. Below we have laid out common signs and symptoms of a heart attack and a cardiac arrest, and what you can do to help.

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Identifying signs and symptoms can vary for both men and women, so it’s especially important to listen to your body as the signs tend to be much less noticeable in women. If you experience any of the signs below call 9-1-1 immediately.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Men and Women

  • Chest discomfort (pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)
  • Sweating
  • Upper body discomfort (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-head

More Prevalent In Women

  • Indigestion type feeling, or band of tightness in the upper back region.
  • Dizzy, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath with exertion

What To Do If You Are, Or You See Someone Experiencing A Heart Attack

  1. Call 9-1-1
    • This is highly important as you want to get professional medical help to yourself or to the person you’re treating.
  2. Stop all activity
    • Sit or lie down in whatever position is most comfortable.
  3. Take nitroglycerin or Aspirin
    • If you have either of these items available to you, take them. If you have nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage. If you have Aspirin, chew and swallow a tablet. ***Important*** make sure that you or the person you’re treating are not allergic to either of these items before ingestion.
  4. Rest and wait
    • Wait and stay calm for help to come. If you’re by yourself and you know of someone close by who may be able to help you, try to call out to them for assistance.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cardiac Arrest

Its easier to identify signs and symptoms of a cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is defined as heart-stopping, which means that blood is no longer transferring to the rest of the body. Ultimately, this can cause death within minutes.

Signs of a Cardiac Arrest

  1. Sudden collapse
  2. Unresponsive to touch and sounds
  3. Not breathing or they’re making gasping sounds.

What To Do If You See Someone Experiencing A Cardiac Arrest

  1. Call 9-1-1 immediately
  2. Yell or try to locate an AED 
    • If you have someone else with you, get them to look for and grab an AED. AED’s are often available in public places, so if you can’t find one, try to locate an information desk and ask if there is one available.
  3. Start CPR
    • Begin chest compressions by pushing down hard and fast in the center of the chest. If you become tired, try to sub in another bystander until help arrives.

Mikey Young at Heart App

To better prepare yourself in case of a heart-related emergency, we encourage you to sign up and download the Mikey Young at Heart app. Although the app is meant primarily for high school students, it can be used to educate anyone on how to perform CPR and how to properly use an AED.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by healthy eating, but your overall health will benefit if you can stick with healthy basics during this trying time. That means filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit, a quarter with protein-rich foods, and a quarter with whole grains, as described by Canada’s Food Guide.

Preparing meals can seem complicated though with hard to get ‘superfoods‘ seeming like the only way to cook nutritiously. But this is simply not the case — heart healthy foods are hiding in plain sight at every grocery store across the country. Fresh, frozen, shelf-stable and more, these delicious whole foods benefit your total body health. Below are some of our tips that you can use, without breaking the bank.

Choose Wisely

Plan your meals ahead of time, so you can shop once and get groceries for the next week or two. When you plan your meals, make sure to use your perishable vegetables, fruit and protein options first, and save the canned, frozen and shelf-stable food for later.

Peel it Yourself

Buying foods in their close-to-natural state will always save you money. A one kilogram bag of whole unpeeled carrots costs about one-third the price of the same size bag of pre-cut baby carrots. Convenience comes with a higher price tag.

Go Meatless on Monday

Pick one or more days per week to go fully meatless, focusing on the highly affordable protein found in beans, legumes, eggs and tofu. Transform humble edamame beans into an edible masterpiece with this Carrot, Parsnip and Edamame Salad, ideal for lunch or dinner on the days you go meatless, or any day.

Choose In-Season Foods

Shopping in season is a simple way to enjoy a healthy diet on a budget, without even thinking twice. Head to your local farmers’ market or grocery store each week with growing seasons in mind. For instance, buy asparagus in April or May (not December!) and strawberries in June. In the summertime, you’re spoiled for choice, though this way of cooking and eating works year-round.

Use Frozen Vegetables

Picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen, these ice-cold health foods are often just as nutritious as they are fresh. Choose frozen produce free of sauces, salt and sugar, and keep your eye out for sales during the week. They’ll keep for months, allowing you to buy in bulk and add to stews, stir-fries, salads, sides and soups.

Life can sometimes come crashing down on you all at once. Does this sound familiar? -It’s a busy time of the year at your job, your mother’s new medication doesn’t seem to show any improvements, and you forgot to pick up the cake you ordered for this weekend’s party.

You rush to the bakery as soon as you realize you need to pick up your order. While you’re there, you also buy a full box of pastries. On your drive home, you nibble on one. Before you know it you’ve had an additional two pastries, but did not take the time to enjoy any of them.

If this sounds familiar, t-ese are cues of emotional eating. It’s a coping mechanism where you turn to food for comfort when you’re stressed, upset or frustrated, and even when you’re not hungry at all.

The relief you get from food doesn’t last long and the prolonged habit of emotional eating could cause weight gain if your go-to foods are high in calories, sugar, and fat- which they usually are. The excess weight could increase your risk to heart disease, diabetes, and other issues.

We all have our comfort foods and a little emotion eating is perfectly normal. If it’s getting out of hand though and the clothes are starting to get tight, we have some tips get your emotional eating under control.

Here are some tips to help you control emotional eating:

Write it down. Record the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing before snacking in a journal. Track what you eat, how much you’re eating, and what you’re feeling when you eat. This will help you identify patterns and make connections between your mood and cravings.

Ditch the distractions. When you’re having your meals, turn off all screens and focus on eating your food. Take in all the senses of smell, taste, and look. Make sure to savour every bite, take your time to chew, and stop when your body is telling you it’s full.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. If you catch yourself in the act of emotional eating, take steps to get out of it. Substitute your cravings with nutrient-dense alternatives or reduce portion sizes. Drinking a glass of water first before having a snack can help a lot. Often when we thing we’re hungry a glass of water can curb those cravings. If you’re not hungry at all, go for a walk instead!

Pace yourself. Set small and obtainable goals to change your behavior. You could start simple like eating your meals at a table than while driving. Changing your longstanding habits require your commitment and patience, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you just start out – take it step by step.

Most of all, don’t beat yourself up over it. Guilt over eating will only add to your stress. Once you identify that you want to change, take a small first step and be proud that you are making a change not guilty over why you have to make it.

Eating Well, is a great source that informs you on ways that you can eat well on a daily basis. They have shared their top 10 super-foods that anyone can eat on a daily basis!


Berries are a great source of fiber. Essentially, fiber keeps your digestive system and heart healthy.

2. Eggs:

Eggs are very nutritious. Not only do they have protein and give you the energy you need, but they also keep your eyes healthy.

3. Sweet Potatoes:

Yum! Sweet Potatoes keep your eyes, bones, and immune system healthy.

4. Broccoli:

Broccoli is packed with vitamins. It helps with bone health and stimulates your body’s detoxifying enzymes.

To check-out the rest of the Superfoods by Eating well, go to: http://www.eatingwell.com/article/290550/10-everyday-superfoods/

There are plenty of Superfoods that you can eat everyday, to protect your heart-health and overall health. It only takes a few minutes to prepare for a lifetime of good health.

Remember what your mom told you? Well it turns out that eating your vegetables was great advice. Eating more plant based foods and less animal products is not only beneficial to your heart health but also does good for the planet. An increasing number of studies have suggested that eating a more plant-centric diet could reduce your risk to heart failure by 40%. and another suggests that a vegetarian diet cuts the risk of heart disease death by the same percentage.

An Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study followed participants between 1987 and 2016. Researchers of this study found that those who had the highest intake of plant based foods were 16% less likely to develop cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, when compared to adults that consumed the smallest amount of plant foods.

People with high plant based diets were also 25% less likely to die from health-related causes along with 32% less of a risk of dying from a heart condition.

While researchers said that you don’t have to give up animal-derived foods completely, their study suggests that increasing your proportion of plant based foods paired with a smaller consumption of meat could help reduce heart complications and risks.

French fries and cauliflower pizza don’t count though! Make sure you are choosing foods that are rich in nutritional value and low in added sugars, sodium (salt), cholesterol, and not-good-for-your-heart trans and saturated fats. Instead of processed foods reach for some fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grain choices as a healthier snack option.

Learn more about the study here.