Taking steps to keep the heart healthy is the best way to avoid life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke, which is one of the causes of fatalities in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
Cardiovascular diseases account for a sizable proportion of the 8.5 million people in the region dying prematurely from non-communicable diseases every year. On this World Heart Day, it is important to raise awareness to improve heart health and diminish the risk of diseases.
‘Governments can promote heart health by building public infrastructure such as parks to facilitate greater physical activity.
A few changes in the lifestyle is the stepping stone to keep the heart healthy
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day
- Limit salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day
- Engage in moderate intensity exercises for 30 minutes a day, five times a week
Governments can take small steps in improving heart health and diminishing the disease burden by building public infrastructures such as parks and cycle ways. Governments can also forge partnerships with non-health sector organizations - including businesses and civil society - to promote tobacco control, diminish alcohol use, and limit the consumption of processed foods and foods with high trans-fat and salt.
Another most important intervention the government can make is providing screening and health counseling services at the primary health care level.
Countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region reiterated their commitment to fight against non-communicable diseases by adopting the Colombo Declaration earlier this month.
The Declaration calls for an action to reverse the rising burden of cardiovascular disease among disease among other non-communicable diseases, placing particular emphasis on the primary health care approach, as well as other non-health sector initiatives.
With the rise in public awareness people across the Region will have the best chance possible of maintaining a healthy heart and living a longer, happier life. Achieving this goal is a responsibility that individuals, communities, the health and non-health sectors must embrace and strive for.