WORLD HEART DAY – USE ♥ FOR EVERY ♥
As they say, a healthy heart is a gift for life. The last few decades have seen a dramatic change in our lifestyles. Owing to the ease and convenience of technology, life has undergone a sea change. The biggest drawback of a sedentary lifestyle is the state of health issues, especially those concerning the heart. Now, more than ever there is an emphasis on heart health.
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.
WORLD HEART DAY HISTORY
The aim is to improve health globally by encouraging people to make lifestyle changes and promoting education internationally about ways to be good to your heart. This lesson is becoming increasingly relevant as reports of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity in children and young people become more and more common.
Events take place to promote healthy hearts. Charities and other organisations coordinate walks and runs, health checks, public talks, shows and exhibitions to name a few of the interesting and informative events which mark the day. So, on Heart Day, get involved, eat your fruit and veg and get outside; both you and your heart will feel the benefits.
World Heart Day is celebrated every year. It was created by the World Heart Federation. The first World Heart Day took place back in 2000. Since then, in 2012, leaders from around the globe committed to the reduction of worldwide mortality from non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025.
Did you know that almost half of the NCD deaths happen because of cardiovascular disease? This makes it the biggest killer across the world. Therefore, World Heart Day is the perfect platform for the community to come together in the battle against cardiovascular disease and lower the worldwide disease burden.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of times our heart beats in a day – 115,000
- The number of gallons of blood pumped by the heart every day – 2,000
- The year in which the first open-heart surgery occurred – 1893
- The age in years of an Egyptian mummy in which the earliest-known case of heart disease was identified – 3,500
- The fastest heartbeat per minute — that of the pygmy shrew – 1,200
- The weight of the human heart – 1 pound
- The number of miles our blood vessel system can extend to – 60,000
- The weight of a blue whale’s heart – 1,500 pounds
- The amount of blood pumped by our heart each minute – 1.5 gallons
HOW TO OBSERVE – World Heart Day
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) recognises 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 organisation that promotes healthy hearts. There are a lot of different charities and organisations that are doing great work when it comes to raising awareness and finding cures for different heart problems. We are sure that they would appreciate a donation, whether this is a donation of your time, money, or both! After all, anything that you can do can make a difference to someone’s life, so do not underestimate the role that you can play.
In Singapore, World Heart Day is celebrated concurrently with National Heart Week organised by the Singapore Heart Foundation. Health screenings, fitness sessions, exhibitions, and other heart health activities are held in the heartlands to support the public in kickstarting a heart-healthier lifestyle.
In the United Arab Emirates, to create awareness about these risks, the Emirates Cardiac Society has launched the ‘For Every Heart’ public education campaign ahead of World Heart Day on September 29. More than 90 countries take part in this international observance every year. As a result, World Heart Day has proven to be an effective means for disseminating information about CVD. The high level of involvement from governments and organisations is most important for developing countries, which are heavily affected by these diseases.
Top tips to prevent heart disease
The good news is that you can prevent and fight heart disease. An important preventive measure to lower risk of cardiovascular disease is managing health behaviours and risk factors. But how do you know which risk factors you have? Regular screening tests once to twice yearly (depending on your risk factors) is an excellent way to protect your heart. Annual screening tests include:
- Having your blood pressure taken
- Measuring your cholesterol and blood glucose levels
- Reviewing your BMI score and waist circumference
- ECG tests
Keep your health track through regular health check-ups. Consulting an expert would assist you to identify symptoms and take the precautionary measures immediately. You are important for your family and your health is precious. It is clear that preventive health care is important. To start your own “good health” practices, there are few things you can do immediately without any medical knowledge:
Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products; Drink only in moderation -Eat a proper, balanced diet to get the correct amount of nutrients and calories daily -Exercise at least three days per week -See your doctor regularly for check-ups. Take the time to learn more and educate yourself. Most importantly, start working on your healthy habits today. A habit is something you do without thinking about it, and building good habits doesn’t take that long. We guarantee that you will thank yourself later by being healthier, having more energy and enjoying life to its fullest.
You can access a Health Check all year round with the preventive check-ups benefit available with all HanseMerkur health insurance plans, please contact your local agent for further information!
This World Heart Day, make a difference for humanity, for nature and for you.