WORLD HEART DAY
Every year World Heart Day on September 29th strives to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease, including how to prevent it.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 18 million people die each year from heart-related issues. About 85% of these deaths are due to heart attack and stroke.
Heart attacks and strokes are caused by blockage preventing blood from flowing to the brain or heart. One of the most common types of obstruction is fatty deposits in the blood vessels. The following risk factors increase the chance of having a heart attack or stroke:
- Tobacco use
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Harmful use of alcohol
In many cases, a combination of these risk factors is present in stroke and heart attack victims.
Three-quarters of heart-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. People in these countries have less access to early detection and integrated health care. In 2012, world leaders committed to reducing mortality from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025. This includes cardiovascular diseases.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldHeartDay
Each year, many events around the world are held to celebrate World Heart Day. These events include:
- Heart runs and walks
- Fund-raising and sporting events
- Free heart health checks
People are encouraged to wear red. Many of the world’s iconic landmarks and buildings are illuminated red on this day. The World Heart Federation (WHF) recognizes dozens of Heart Heroes. These Heart Heroes include cardiologists and researchers who have made breakthroughs in cardiology care. Other Heart Heroes include everyday people who have survived heart attacks and vowed to take better care of themselves. One of the most famous Heart Heroes is actress and heart disease survivor, Susan Lucci.
There are so many ways to participate in this international health day. You can start by choosing to take good care of your heart. Do you smoke? Maybe it’s time to quit. Do you get enough exercise and eat healthily? Today is a great day to start. Take advantage of a free heart health check if your clinic offers it. If you are an employer, reward your employees for doing heart-healthy activities.
Participate in a heart walk or other fund-raising event. Donate to the World Heart Federation or a local organization that promotes healthy hearts. Whatever you do, be sure to share on social media with #WorldHeartDay
WORLD HEART DAY HISTORY
WHF and WHO in 1999 established world Heart Day. The first official celebration took place on September 24th, 2000. Initially, World Heart Day was observed on the last Sunday of September. In 2011, September 29th became World Heart Day.
Antoni Bayés de Luna, the president of WHF from 1997 to 1999 is credited for coming up with the idea of World Heart Day. More than 90 countries participate in World Heart Day. This day has become the biggest global-awareness raising campaign for cardiovascular health.