World Heart Day (WHD) is celebrated all over the world each year on 29th of September. The theme this year is "One world - One home - One heart".
For over a decade, the world has come together on World Heart Day to address the pan -global cardiovascular disease epidemic and to promote heart-healthy living all over the world. WHD acts as a platform for action to create awareness regarding heart diseases and prompts individuals, families, communities and governments to tackle the burden of the deadly disease.
AdvertisementThis year, World Heart Day gains greater significance as the 65th World Health Assembly that was held in May this year saw governments from 194 different countries make the first-ever commitment to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, by 25% by the year 2025.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a group of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). These diseases include aneurysm, angina, atherosclerosis, stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease including heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.
With more and more people becoming affluent and with lifestyles changing drastically, CVD is steadily taking its toll all over the world. In the United States alone, it takes more lives than all the cancers combined.
It is popular belief that CVDs, including heart disease, stroke, and a series of other heart-related conditions, are lifestyle diseases that primarily affect older people. However, nothing can be further from truth.
CVD can affect anyone of any age group including women and children. It can destabilize life by causing serious illnesses and this can heavily impact families and societies economically.
Therefore, this year, WHD will focus on the heart health of women and children through heart-healthy actions.
The most common heart condition in children is congenital heart disease. Each year, 1.5 million new cases are born globally. With careful monitoring and management, these children can grow up to become productive adults.
Although heart attack is more often attached to men, it has been revealed that more number of women die each year due to heart attacks. Understanding the symptoms and risk factors is the first step towards controlling CVD.
In women, the symptoms of heart attack are more subtle and do not necessarily include the crushing chest pain commonly linked to a heart attack. However, the majority of women who have had an attack would have experienced some sort of pain or discomfort - pain in the neck, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness or fatigue.
Risk factors for CVD include metabolic syndrome, stress, depression, smoking, menopause and family history.
CVD can be kept under check by understanding the risk factors as well as eating a balanced diet, following a regular exercise schedule and regularly monitoring cardiac health.
It must be remembered that CVD is responsible for nearly 17.3 million deaths each year. Therefore, there is a lot to do before the target of 25% reduction is achieved.
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