World Heart Day is observed on September 29. This commemoration was created by the World Health Organization and the World Heart Federation, and it aims at raising awareness about cardiovascular disease and other afflictions that affect the heart. They hope to help people identify warning signs and symptoms, how to look for help, and how to fight it. Around 18 million people die of heart disease every year, so it is very important to educate people on risk factors and healthy living to help with prevention.
World Heart Day was the idea of Antoni Bayes de Luna, the president of the World Heart Federation (1997-1999). World Heart Day was officially established by the World Heart Federation and the World Health Organization in 1999 and was first celebrated on September 24, 2000. This day was observed on the last Sunday of September until 2011, when September 29 was officially set as World Heart Day.
Today, World Heart Day is the biggest international event campaigning for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, with over 90 countries participating in commemorations every year.
Fighting Heart Disease
Most deaths from cardiovascular disease are in countries with large low and middle-income populations. Still, the World Heart Federation believes that knowing how to keep your heart healthy is something every citizen should be taught. That's why on World Heart Day the WHF partners with governments around the world to organize free events for communities, families, and individuals to attend and learn how to maintain a healthy heart and look out for risk factors. The official World Heart Day campaign's main aim is to teach people how to avoid these risky habits and improve their lives, preventing more avoidable premature deaths.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. It includes conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure.
80% of cardiovascular disease deaths are preventable since they derive from unhealthy habits such as an unhealthy diet, lack of physical exercise, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.
High cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of heart disease. Excess cholesterol can build up in the arteries, narrowing them and impeding blood flow.
Significant risk factors for heart disease include smoking, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, and stress.
World Heart Day Activities
Today is the perfect day to reflect on some of your unhealthy habits and think about what changes you could make to improve your health. At the same time, if you know a family member or friend who has some risk factors related to heart disease, try to talk to them and get them to educate themselves on how they could improve their life. The World Heart Federation website has many resources to help with this.
Many organizations organize events such as fairs, talks, and exhibitions to help prevent heart disease on this day. Some of them even offer free health checks. See if there are any near you and visit them to get informed.
One habit you could adopt to improve your cardiovascular health might be a new daily form of exercise, such as going for walks or runs, or anything that gets your heart rate going. Changing your diet to a healthier one will also help you see much improvement in your health. The biggest but most difficult change to make to prevent heart disease is ditching bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.