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
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
This 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
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
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.