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STATISTICS

The Heart and Stroke Foundation plays a leading role in the tracking and development of relevant and current statistics on heart disease and stroke in Canada, as well as their related risk factors. Statistics listed on this page are the most current available and are updated when new reports and studies are issued. References for statistics are found at the end of this document.

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical guidelines (also called best practice recommendations, clinical protocols or clinical practice guidelines) help standardize health care, incorporating the latest available scientific evidence. These documents identify best practices and standards of care, which can be used by healthcare providers for guidance regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in specific areas of health care.

In an effort to deliver expert, up-to-date information, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the latest available Canadian guidelines to produce evidence-based content on heart disease and stroke related issues on our website. Please find a list of guidelines used for this purpose at the end of this document.

Statistics

Remarkable progress has been made tackling cardiovascular disease in Canada over the past 60 years with death rates declining by more than 75 per cent. This has largely been due to research advances in surgical procedures, drug therapies and prevention effortsi. Yet despite our progress, heart disease and stroke remain leading causes of deathii and hospitalizationiii and the biggest driver of prescription drug use in Canadaiv.

  • An estimated 1.6 million Canadians are living with heart disease or the effects of a strokev.
  • 1.3 million Canadians are living with heart diseasevi.
  • More than 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term stroke disabilityvii.
  • In 2011, more than 66,000 Canadians died from heart disease or strokeviii . That’s one person every 7 minutesix.
    • In 2011, almost 14,000 Canadians died as the result of a heart attackx.
    • In 2011, more than 13,000 Canadians died as the result of a strokexi.
  • Each year more than 350,000 Canadians are hospitalized for heart disease or strokexii.
    • In 2011, more than 305,000 Canadians were hospitalized for heart diseasexiii.
    • In 2011, more than 46,500 Canadians were hospitalized for strokexiv.
  • Heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivityxv.
  • By adopting healthy behaviours, you can delay the onset of heart disease or stroke by as much as 14 yearsxvi.
  • Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behavioursxvii.

Preventing disease

Children and Youth

Overweight and obesity

  • 31% of Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17, an estimated 1.6 million, are overweight or obesexviii. Of these, four in five will grow up to be overweight adultsxix.
  • Childhood overweight and obesity may result in premature onset of heart disease and stroke risk factors such as hypertensionxx.

Vegetables and fruit

  • Not eating enough vegetables and fruit is a major risk factors for heart disease and strokexxi,xxii,xxiii; yet only 45% of children aged 12 to 19 eat at least 5 servings (the minimum recommended) of fruits and vegetables dailyxxiv.

Tobacco and smoking

  • 2% of children in grades 6-9 smoke and 7.8% of those in grades 10-12 smokexxv.
  • On average, smokers smoke their first whole cigarette at the age of 16, and start smoking regularly by 18 years of agexxvi.
  • There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmfulxxvii.

Physical activity

  • Only 7% of Canadian children and youth accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 6 days a week, girls being significantly less active than boysxxviii,xxix.
  • On average, children aged 6 to 17 spend nine hours a day sedentaryxxx.
  • Accumulating at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day contributes to many health benefits including improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, academic achievement and improved mental healthxxxi.

Marketing* to kids

  • Marketing is associated with increased consumption of fast foodsxxxii, as well as unhealthy food and beverages containing high levels of fat, sodium and sugarsxxxiii,xxxiv,xxxv.
  • The majority of marketed food and beverage products (as much as 90%) are high in salt, fat, sugar or caloriesxxxvi.
  • Food and beverage marketing greatly influences children’s food preferences, purchase requests and choicesxxxvii.
  • Children spend up to 11 hours per day in front of screens including computers, tablets, phones and television and are exposed to a high frequency of online and social media marketingxxxviii.
  • The average Canadian child watches approximately two hours of television per day and views more than 20,000 commercials annuallyxxxix.
  • With marketing exposure at a rate of nearly six times per hour, unhealthy food and beverage advertising in Canada during children’s television programming is higher than in many other countriesxl.

* "Marketing" refers to any form of commercial communication or message that is designed to, or has the effect of, increasing the recognition, appeal and/or consumption of particular products and services. This includes anything that acts to advertise or otherwise promote a product or service.

Sugar sweetened beverages

  • Sugar-loaded beverages contain empty calories with no nutritional benefit. The average 32 ounce soft drink (standard large size) has 374 calories and 102 grams of added sugar.
  • Among adolescents, soft drink intake is associated with lower intakes of milk, calcium and other essential nutrientsxli.
  • As children age, their consumption of sugar sweetened beverages increasesxlii. With every additional sugary beverage a child drinks daily, the odds of becoming obese increase by 60 per centxliii.

Adult Prevention

  • Nine in ten Canadians (24 million) have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These factors includexliv:
    • eating less than 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day,
    • smoking,
    • physical inactivity,
    • overweight or obesity,
    • high blood pressure,
    • diabetes, and
    • stress.
  • Maintaining five or more healthy behaviours (not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet; and keeping high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels in control) is associated with an 88 per cent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease or strokexlv.

Vegetable and fruit consumption

  • 60% of adult Canadians (12 yr +) do not consume five or more servings of vegetables and fruit each dayxlvi.
  • Insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit is one of the major risk factors of heart disease and strokexlvii,xlviii,xlix.
  • Eating 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit a day can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by about 20 per centl.
  • Eating 4 or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily, can add more than two years to your lifeli.

Sugar

  • In Canada, it is estimated that more than 13 per cent of our total daily calories come from added sugarslii,liii. This estimate is conservative as it does not include sugars from fruit juice, honey etc.
  • Sugar-loaded beverages are the single greatest contributor of sugar in the Canadian dietliv – one can of soda contains 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons of sugarlv,lvi,lvii. That is 85 per cent of an adult’s added sugar intake limit for the day.
  • Excess sugar consumption is associated with adverse health effects including heart diseaselviii,lix,lx, strokelxi, obesitylxii,lxiii,lxiv,lxv,lxvi, diabeteslxvii,lxviii,lxix,lxx,lxxi, high blood cholesterollxii,lxiii, cancerlxxiv and dental caries (cavities)lxvv.
  • Individuals who consume greater than or equal to 10% but less than 25% of total energy (calories) from added sugar have a 30% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke when compared to those who consume less than 10%. For those who consume 25% or more of calories from added sugar, the risk is nearly tripledlxxvi.

Sodium

  • On average, adult Canadians consume about 3,400 mg (roughly 1 ½ teaspoons) of sodium per daylxxvii. This is significantly above the level recommended as the upper tolerable limit for health, which is 2,300 mg per day (approximately 1 teaspoon)lxxviii.
  • Most of the sodium Canadians consume (77%) comes from processed foods sold in grocery stores and food service outlets. Only about 11% is added during preparation or at the table, with the remainder occurring naturally in foodslxxix.
  • Excess sodium consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokelxxx.

Tobacco and smoking

  • 16% of Canadians (approx. 4.4 million people) smokelxxxi.
  • Smoking is responsible for close to 15% of all heart disease and stroke deaths in Canadalxxxii. In 2002, 10,853 Canadians died from heart disease and stroke as a result of tobacco use and second-hand smokelxxxiii.
  • Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke in middle-aged men and womenlxxxiv.
  • Choosing not to smoke can add more than two years to your lifelxxxv.

Overweight and obesity

  • 62%, or over 3 in 5 of Canadian adults are overweight or obeselxxxvi.
  • The prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease increases with increasing Body Mass Index (BMI: a ratio of height and weight)lxxxvii.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Six million Canadian adults, or one in five, have high blood pressurelxxxviii.
  • 1 in 6 Canadians (762,000 individuals) with high blood pressure are unaware of their conditionlxxxix.
  • High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke and if left untreated can lead to coronary artery disease, dementia, heart and kidney failure and other chronic diseasesxc.
  • If high blood pressure was eliminated, there would be 35% fewer cases of stroke and 18% fewer heart attacksxci,xcii.

Physical activity

  • Only 15% of adults (17% of men and 14% of women), accumulate the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activityxciii.
  • Getting 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity per week reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes by 30 per centxciv.
  • 10,000 steps daily, which is considered achieving the recommended amount of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activityxcv, can add more than 2 years to your lifexcvi.

Saving lives

1. Emergency Response – Cardiac

Deaths from cardiac arrest

  • Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That’s one every 13 minutesxcvii.
  • Up to 85% of cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals in public places or in homesxcviii.
  • Current survival rates for cardiac arrest are very low; it is estimated that only 5% of Canadians survive a cardiac arrest outside of a hospitalxcix.
  • For every minute that defibrillation is delayed during cardiac arrest the chance of survival drops by 7 – 10% and resuscitation is rarely successful beyond 10 minutec.
  • The chance of surviving a cardiac arrest is doubled when early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is used in combination with an automatic external defibrillator (AED)ci.

Deaths from heart attacks

  • There are an estimated 70,000 heart attacks each year in Canada. That’s one every seven minutescii,ciii.
  • Close to 14,000 Canadians die each year as the result of a heart attack. Most of these deaths occur out of hospitalciv.

2. Emergency Response – Stroke

Deaths from stroke

  • There are an estimated 62,000 strokes and TIAs that are admitted to emergency departments in Canada each year. That’s one every 9 minutescv.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada. Each year, over 13,000 Canadians die from strokecvi.

Stroke disability

  • Stroke is a leading cause of adult disabilitycvii, with some 315,000 Canadians living with the effects of strokecviii.
  • For every minute delay in treating a stroke, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cellscix.
  • Depression following a stroke and changes to cognition (i.e. how one knows things and how one thinks) affect up to 30% to 60% of stroke survivors within the first year. Depression and cognition changes are also associated with impaired recovery as well as decreased function in activities of daily livingcx.
  • Stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages, and decreased productivitycxi.

Promoting recovery

Survivor Support

Quality of life: survivors, families and caregivers

  • In Canada, heart disease and stroke are among the most common medical conditions that result in disabilitycxii.
  • In 2012, more than one in four Canadians reported providing care to a family member or friend with a chronic illness, disability or aging need during the previous year. These caregivers were most often caring for a parent. Heart disease and stroke was the third most common reason (9% of caregivers) for providing care (after age-related needs and cancer)cxiii.
  • Navigating through the health system after a stroke has been highlighted as a frequent source of dissatisfaction for patients and informal caregiverscxiv. This dissatisfaction is particularly high during the transition from the hospital back to the community.
  • It is estimated that there are 600,000 Canadians living with heart failure and 50,000 new patients are diagnosed each yearcxv. Heart failure patients may have many symptoms that can affect their quality of life, including fatigue, pain, breathlessness, anxiety, nausea, confusion and depressioncxvi.

Risk of heart disease and stroke for those living with disease

  • After having a heart attack or stroke or being diagnosed with angina, high blood pressure, or diabetes fewer than 1 in 20 Canadians quit smoking, increase physical activity and eat a healthy dietcxvii.
  • Only 37% of stroke patients with moderate to severe impairments receive standard rehabilitation in the weeks after strokecxviii.
  • Only approximately 40% of patients who are eligible for cardiac rehabilitation enroll in rehabilitation program. Women are 36% less likely than men to enroll in cardiac rehabilitationcxix.
  • Participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program, after being hospitalized for heart disease (heart attack, angina, heart failure or arrhythmia), is associated with a 50% reduction in death ratecxx.
  • With good rehab and support, all survivors recover to some extent and Canadians who survive a stroke can go on to lead full, meaningful lives and prevent subsequent strokescxxi.

Learn more by reading our Strategic Plan.

CLINICAL GUIDELINES

Clinical guidelines (also called best practice recommendations, clinical protocols or clinical practice guidelines) help standardize health care, incorporating the latest available scientific evidence. These documents identify best practices and standards of care, which can be used by healthcare providers for guidance regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in specific areas of health care.

In an effort to deliver expert, up-to-date information, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the latest available Canadian guidelines to produce evidence based content on heart disease and stroke related issues on our website. Below is a list of guidelines used for this purpose:

 

Guideline title and organization

Link to publication

Year of publication

Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care, Heart and Stroke Foundation

www.strokebestpractices.ca/

Current

Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Heart Failure
Atrial Fibrillation
Antiplatelet Therapy
Dyslipidemia
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy
Refractory Angina
Ischemic Heart Disease
Position statements on various topics also included.
http://www.ccsguidelineprograms.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=185&Itemid=107

2005

Current

Canadian Hypertension Education Program Recommendations, Hypertension Canada

http://guidelines.hypertension.ca/

Current

Nursing Management of Hypertension, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

http://rnao.ca/bpg/guidelines/nursing-management-hypertension

Supplement 2009

Stroke Assessment Across the Continuum of Care , Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

http://rnao.ca/bpg/guidelines/stroke-assessment-across-continuum-care

Supplement 2011

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Canadian Diabetes Association

http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/

Current

Eating Well With Canada's Food Guide, Health Canada

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - Main Page - Health Canada

2007

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

http://www.csep.ca/english/view.asp?x=804

2011

Obesity in adults, Canadian Task Force for Preventive Medicine

http://canadiantaskforce.ca/ctfphc-guidelines/2015-obesity-adults/

2015

2006 Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Management and Prevention of Obesity in Adults and Children, Obesity Canada

http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/data/176/8/S1/DC1/1

2007

National Advisory Committee on Immunization Recommendations, Public Health Agency of Canada

Influenza vaccines
Pneumococcal vaccines
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/naci-ccni/index-eng.php

Current

Guidelines Update for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care

https://www.heartandstroke.ca/guidelines2015

2015

 


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