What is World Heart Day?
World Heart Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and promote heart-healthy lifestyles worldwide. It was established by the World Heart Federation (WHF) in 1999 and is observed on September 29th every year. The theme of World Heart Day 2023 is ‘Use heart, know heart’, which encourages people to use their hearts to make positive choices for themselves and others, and to know their heart health status and risk factors.
Why is World Heart Day important?
According to the WHF, CVD is the leading cause of death and disability globally, claiming 18.6 million lives every year. CVD includes conditions such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and arrhythmia. The main risk factors for CVD are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Many of these risk factors can be prevented or controlled by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed a serious threat to heart health, as people with underlying CVD are more likely to develop severe complications and die from the virus. Moreover, the pandemic has disrupted the delivery of essential health services and the access to medicines and devices for people with CVD. The pandemic has also increased the levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among the population, which can adversely affect the heart.
Therefore, World Heart Day is a crucial opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and the impact of CVD on individuals and communities. It educates people about the risk factors associated with heart disease and the preventive measures they can take. It also fosters collaboration among governments, healthcare professionals, organizations, and individuals to work collectively in the fight against CVD. It promotes international cooperation in research, prevention, and treatment of CVD.
How to celebrate World Heart Day?
There are many ways to celebrate World Heart Day and show your support for the cause. Here are some suggestions:
- Know your heart: Get a regular check-up of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index. These are the key indicators of your heart health and can help you identify and manage your risk factors. You can also use online tools such as the Heart Age Calculator or the CVD Risk Calculator to estimate your heart age and your risk of developing CVD in the next 10 years.
- Use your heart: Make healthy choices for yourself and your loved ones. Quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and manage your stress. These simple steps can reduce your risk of CVD and improve your overall well-being. You can also join online campaigns such as the My Heart, Your Heart pledge or the [Healthy Heart Challenge] to commit to a heart-healthy lifestyle and inspire others to do the same.
- Share your heart: Spread the word about World Heart Day and the importance of heart health. You can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok to share your stories, tips, photos, videos, or messages related to heart health. You can also use the official hashtags #WorldHeartDay and #UseHeart to join the global conversation. You can also participate in online events such as webinars, podcasts, quizzes, or contests organized by the WHF or its partners. You can also donate to the WHF or other organizations that work for the prevention and control of CVD.
World Heart Day is a day to celebrate the amazing organ that keeps us alive and to take action to protect it from diseases. By knowing your heart, using your heart, and sharing your heart, you can make a difference for yourself and others. Remember, every heartbeat matters!