While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, diagnoses of diabetes among Canadians increased 70 percent from 1998/1999 to 2008/2009. For those ages 35 to 44, the number of diagnoses actually doubled in that decade! Experts blame the shocking increase in the disease on rising obesity rates, caused by diet and inactivity. The Canadian Diabetes Association says there are nine million Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes, and experts expect the prevalence of the disease to grow another 47 percent by 2024.
Heart disease and stroke are consistently among the leading causes of death in both men and women. Though some of the contributing factors, such as age, race and family history, are out of our control, many of the lifestyle factors associated with heart disease are on the rise. For instance, the rise in obesity and inactivity is putting more and more Canadians at risk. And for those Canadians living with diabetes, heart disease risk is also higher. While smoking has decreased greatly in the past decade, 16 percent of Canadians are still smoking, and putting themselves at a significantly higher risk for developing heart disease.
Multiple sclerosis may not be a leading killer, but it's a scary and uniquely Canadian disease. Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, with about 100,000 people living with the disease. Most are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, but the cause of the disease is still unknown. Mysteriously, some of the hardest hit countries seem to be those furthest from the equator, leading some people to believe that the disease is linked to a shortage of vitamin D, which is produced from sun exposure. But even accounting for our northern location, this theory doesn't seem to explain why our rate is a whopping 28 percent higher than that of Denmark, the country with the next highest rate.
Cancer as a whole is the leading cause of death among Canadians, and the incidence of the disease is expected to increase in coming years as our population ages. More than 75,000 Canadians are estimated to die of cancer a year. While lung and colorectal cancers account for 40 percent of all cancer deaths, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. In the past two decades, we have managed to decrease the death rates associated with many cancers, including breast, prostate and stomach cancers, but others, such as liver cancer, are on the rise. (Liver cancer is associated with hepatitis, alcohol use, obesity and diabetes.) Though there have been many advances in cancer research in the past several years, Canadians still have a long way to go in the fight against cancer.
While it's not a disease in itself, alcohol leads to a number of dangerous diseases in Canadians, including addiction and several types of cancer, but alcohol can also lead to other accidents and personal injuries. In fact, alcohol can account for eight percent of all deaths among Canadians under the age of 70, and a study from the journal Addiction says that Canadians drink about 50 percent more alcohol than the rest of the world, on average.
Much like cancer, chances are that everyone has been affected by mental illness in some way, whether through association with friends or family, or through their own struggles. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 percent of Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, and eight percent of adults will experience major depression. Mental illness also leads to suicide, which is one of the leading causes of death among Canadians from adolescence to middle age. Unfortunately, Canada still struggles to properly treat mental illness, as many patients wait months to see a psychiatrist or are forced to pay out of pocket for therapy.
There has been a recent flurry of misinformation warning the public about the safety of vaccines that has gotten health officials worried that we could soon see a rise in previously eradicated diseases. In early 2014, there was an outbreak of the measles in Fraser Valley, B.C., that made hundreds of people sick because of the failure to vaccinate against the disease. Currently, the province of British Columbia is reporting their lowest vaccination rates among kindergarteners in a decade. And it's not just affecting kids. During the 2014 flu season, a poll found that less than four in 10 Canadians received the flu shot, and the primary reason so many neglected to get it was because of a mistrust of vaccines. In the coming years, education about vaccines should be a priority in Canada to keep the next generation free of preventable diseases.
Ginger may not be the first spice you think of to incorporate in your snacks, salads and dinners but it's one of the healthiest on the planet! Here's why:
1. It's healthy for your heart.
Research has shown that ginger may lower cholesterol and help prevent blood clotting, which could, in turn, help prevent blood vessel blockages that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
A recent study out of Pennsylvania State University found that a meal made with a spice blend that included ginger (along with garlic, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric and black pepper) reduced levels of triglycerides by 30 percent when compared to an identical non-spiced meal.
2. It helps your tummy!
Ginger has long been associated with relieving nausea and morning sickness, motion sickness, and even menstrual pain, as it's original use was for pain relief. A 2012 study shored up that wisdom, showing that ginger can reduce nausea after chemotherapy when taken as a supplement.
3. It can help you breathe easy.
Ginger tea is a classic remedy purported to ease cough and cold symptoms. And it turns out, there’s some science to its soothing powers when you’re sick. In 2013, research out of Columbia University found that ginger might help asthma patients breathe more easily.
4. It has anti-inflammatory effects.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness, but the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help that. In a trial done by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, participants who took ginger extract had less pain and needed less pain medication than those who didn't.
*Although rare, too much ginger can cause heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth, according to the University of Maryland. There can also be interactions with medications, such as acetylsalicylic acid.
But most of us can indulge in ginger for its flavour and health benefits. Try it in:
Apple Cran-Curry Salsa
Apricot Almond Energy Bars
Asparagus and Orange Salad With Ginger Dressing
Broiled Tofu With No-Cook Peanut Sauce
This modern take on crowd-pleasing Black Forest cake is the perfect ending to your holiday meal.
Wow guests with a festive dessert at the end of your holiday feast, whether it's a trifle, cake or a traditional yule log.
With seasonal fruit, honey and almonds, this galette makes an impressive dessert.
Get the recipe: Pear, Fig and Almond Galette
This modern take on crowd-pleasing Black Forest cake is the perfect ending to your holiday meal.
Get the recipe: Black Forest Pie
These doughnuts, traditionally enjoyed at Hanukkah, taste best when eaten the day they are made, but it won't be difficult to find volunteers to help finish off this impressive tower of jam-filled treats.
Get the recipe: Sufganiyot Tower
This delicate meringue-based treat is a twist on the famous French Mont Blanc dessert. For best results, assemble it just before serving.
Get the recipe: Chestnut Cream Pavlova
Ruby-red pomegranate seeds add the perfect amount of tang to this sweet and salty dark chocolate bark.
Get the recipe: Pomegranate, Pistachio and Apricot Bark
Chunks of chocolate cake doused in hazelnut liqueur and layered with dollops of chocolate-hazelnut pastry cream make a spectacular dessert.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Trifle
Need a dessert to wow even the most discerning dinner guests? Look no further than this traditional holiday cake, updated with white chocolate birch bark topping and buttery toffee filling.
Get the recipe: Crunchy Caramel Bûche De Noël
For an unforgettable finale, treat your guests to their very own cranberry-filled meringue nests. A boozy whipped cream, known as a syllabub, makes a festive topping.
Get the recipe: Cranberry Pear Meringue Nests
We've turned the beloved holiday drink into an extra-creamy, richly flavoured pie that's sure to be a hit with your guests.
Get the recipe: Eggnog Pie
This stunning tart showcases delicately flavoured figs. For best results, choose ripe ones that are plump, tender and heavy.
Get the recipe: Fresh Fig and Almond Tart
Make these golden amaretto-soaked cakes a month ahead so they have plenty of time to develop the perfect level of mellow boozy flavour.
Get the recipe: Mini Cherry Almond Christmas Cakes
Crispy on the outside with a dark chocolate filling, these flaky bites are both easy and elegant.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Phyllo Cigars
These not-too-sweet confections have a nice chewy texture and a distinct coconut flavour
Get the recipe: Coconut Mochi Snowballs
This pull-apart monkey bread tastes just like apple fritters, and it conveniently separates into little doughnut holes for shareable bite-size treats!
Get the recipe: Apple Fritter Monkey Bread
Each of these adorable mini cupcakes is topped with a special treat: candy presents!
Get the recipe: Mini Present Cupcakes
The three components in this recipe are each superb on their own; when combined, they make a crazy-delicious dessert.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Caramel Cupcake Parfaits
With a swirly peppermint embedded in each square, these sweet treats pair the immediate gratification of creamy fudge with the lasting effects of hard candy.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
Whisky often has notes of vanilla, caramel and chocolate, making it a lovely complement to desserts featuring those same flavours.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Whisky Pavé with Sponge Toffee
This moist cake tastes like a blend of two of our country's most-loved doughnut flavours: sour cream and maple-glazed.
Get the recipe: Maple-Glazed Doughnut Bundt Cake
A traditional holiday recipe, this popular Yule log is a cinch to make in stages, ready to assemble the day before serving.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate Bûche De Noël
You only need a small slice of this incredibly rich tart to gratify even the most intense chocolate craving. For the perfect crust, buy preground chocolate wafers, which are fine and evenly sized.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Espresso Tart
The contrast of buttery cream and red wine–poached pears makes these tarts a stunning addition to your holiday spread.
Get the recipe: Red Wine-Poached Pear Tartlets
The decadent flavour of this honey-infused pecan pie filling is made even more addictive when topped with chunks of dark chocolate.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Pecan Tartlets
Soaked in rum and layered with juicy cinnamon apples and vanilla custard, spiced gingerbread steals the spotlight in this holiday favourite.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Apple Trifle
Using vanilla wafer cookies instead of the traditional sponge cake makes these no-bake miniature buches de Noel (yule logs) an easy make-ahead treat.
Get the recipe: Mini Bûches de Noël
When it comes to women and our money, most of the surveys and reports we’ve read sum up our financial situation like this: we simply aren’t on a level playing field with men. It turns out women aren’t, for example, as confident in managing financial services, we’re often reluctant to talk about cash (it’s still considered taboo) and, no surprise here, we generally don’t earn as much as our male counterparts.
All of this got us thinking—is the relationship between Canadian women and our money as dire as it seems? To find out, we've created a survey that goes deep into the minds (and pocketbooks) of women across the country specifically to find out how you feel about all-things financial. Who pays the bills in your household? Have you ever asked for a raise at work? Do you know how much is currently in your savings account?
Take our survey and find out the results in an upcoming issue. Plus, one reader will win a $250 Visa gift card just for participating.
Fill out the survey above and click back here for a chance to win the $250 Visa gift card.