People who have a heart condition are at significantly higher risk of having brain-related impairment, even dementia, according to a new report. (iStock)

Heart conditions, stroke, dementia are linked, finds study

A new report has found that people who have one vascular condition are at a significantly higher risk of developing another, including a brain-related condition and possibly dementia. The report from the non-profit, Heart & Stroke, found much deeper connections between heart conditions, stroke and brain-related conditions.

Canadians with one cardiovascular condition should make sure their doctors are checking for others, according to findings in this report. (iStock)

‘A bigger, more frightening problem’

“That means a bigger and more frightening problem for most people in Canada as 90 per cent live with the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Yves Savoie, Heart & Stroke CEO in a statement.

The research also found gaps in Canada’s publicly-funded health care system. In general, people are treated for one condition at a time. This study suggests that people who have multiple conditions may have faced delays in diagnosis or interventions possibly resulting in the conditions becoming more serious.

Savoie said the health system is “overloaded…not sustainable, and it is only going to worsen as the population ages.”

Prevention is said to be paramount and includes adopting a healthy diet with less salt. (iStock)

Canadians urged to reduce their risk

Heart & Stroke is calling for changes to the health care system and for action on the part of Canadians. It suggests that those who have heart conditions, stroke or vascular impairment to make sure their doctors are checking for other related conditions. It also says that prevention “has never been more important” and it calls on Canadians to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease. This includes quitting smoking, increasing exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, adopting a healthy diet including reducing salt, and reducing stress.

Government statistics from 2012-2013 suggest that about one in two (or 2.4 million) Canadian adults age 20 and over live with diagnosed heart disease. However, the number of adults newly diagnosed with heart disease declined from 221,800 to 158,700 between 2000 and 2013.

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