World Heart Day: Take Care of ‘My Heart, Your Heart’

World Heart Day: Take Care of ‘My Heart, Your Heart’

Dr. Kaushik Bharati
Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on September 28, 2019 at 5:13 PM
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Highlights:
  • World Heart Day is observed on 29th September every year
  • It aims to generate awareness about the importance of keeping the heart fit and healthy
  • Its target is to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular diseases by 25 percent by 2025

World Heart Day is celebrated on 29th September every year and is the world's biggest platform for raising awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart. It is organized by the World Heart Federation, which is the world's leading non-governmental organization (NGO) solely dedicated to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) with a focus on low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The World Heart Federation helps to shape and advance the CVD agenda worldwide through more than 200 member organizations across 100 countries.
World Heart Day: Take Care of ‘My Heart, Your Heart’

In 1998 during the World Congress of Cardiology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the International Society and Federation of Cardiology became known as the World Heart Federation. Its objectives are aligned with those of the World Health Organization (WHO) towards one primary goal: "To reduce premature deaths from major non-communicable diseases (NCDs)- cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes - by 25 percent by 2025 (25 by 25)".

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Importance of World Heart Day

World Heart Day aims to drive home the message that heart disease is preventable. It also encourages people to make healthy lifestyle modifications such as saying "no" to tobacco, eating a healthy diet, and encouraging children to take part in regular physical activity and be more active. It also promotes educational activities internationally on how to be heart-healthy. This is all the more relevant as obesity unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity in children and young people are becoming more and more common.

History of World Heart Day

World Heart Day was jointly established by the World Heart Federation and WHO in 1999. The idea for this annual event was conceptualized by Antoni Bayés de Luna, who was the President of the World Heart Federation between 1997 and 1999. World Heart Day was initially observed on the last Sunday of September till 2011. After 2011, the date for World Heart Day was shifted to 29th September. Since its inception in 1999, the World Heart Day has been jointly sponsored by the World Heart Federation, WHO and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

World Heart Day Theme 2019: 'My Heart, Your Heart'

The theme for World Heart Day 2019 is 'My Heart, Your Heart.' It encourages making a simple promise 'for my heart, for your heart, and for all our hearts' for leading a healthy and better quality of life. The promises should be made by everyone, including the following:

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs): Facts & Figures

  • 31 percent of all deaths worldwide are due to CVD
  • 17.5 million deaths occur annually worldwide due to CVD, which will rise to 23 million by 2030
  • CVD kills double the number of people (17.5 million) worldwide than all cancers combined (8.2 million)
  • CVD accounts for 50 percent of all deaths worldwide due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
  • 80 percent of CVD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • 10 percent of people aged 30-70 years die prematurely from CVD worldwide
  • 80 percent of premature deaths due to heart diseases are preventable
  • CVD death rate in India is 272 per 100,000 population
  • 34 percent rise in CVD deaths in Indians has been observed in the last 26 years
  • 41 percent of Indians have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)or 'good cholesterol'
  • 71 percent of Indians have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or 'bad cholesterol'
  • Economic burden of CVD is huge - USA alone spends USD 200 billion annually!

How is World Heart Day Celebrated?

World Heart Day is celebrated in over 100 countries, spearheaded by the World Heart Federation through the respective governments as well as NGOs. Various events and activities are held to commemorate World Heart Day, including the following:
  • Health Camps: Free heart check-ups are an integral part of the health camps that are conducted by various hospitals and health clinics on the occasion of World Heart Day
  • Walkathons: 'Heart Awareness Walks' are held to create awareness among the public about the importance of heart health
  • Sporting Events: Various sponsored sporting events are organized to raise funds for heart patients. These include fun runs, cycling, swimming, and other fitness activities such as cardio-exercises
  • Public Talks: Popular lectures by eminent heart specialists are organized to enlighten the public about the dangers of heart disease and how to avoid it
  • Seminars: Seminars are organized for sharing the latest research on CVD with medical students and other health professionals
  • Concerts: Stage shows and concerts by leading pop-groups and musicians are organized, not just to entertain, but also to raise funds from the ticket sales proceedings to save millions of lives from heart disease
  • Painting Competitions: Painting competitions involving school children are held on the topic of 'Heart Health' to raise awareness among the new generation. The winners receive the 'Heart Hero Award'
  • Knowledge Dissipation: Awareness is generated through knowledge dissipation by means of the print media, such as newspapers, posters, banners, leaflets, pamphlets, and brochures, as well as through the electronic media such as radio, TV, podcasts, and webinars
  • Lighting-up Landmarks: Iconic landmarks are lit-up in 'Red' - the awareness color for World Heart Day. Some of these world renowned landmarks include the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Nasdaq Screen in Times Square in New York, the Singapore Flyer, and the Sky Tower in New Zealand
  • Social Media: These days, social media plays an instrumental role in spreading messages to maximum number of people almost instantaneously. The hashtag for World Heart Day is #worldheartday, which can be used to generate buzz on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Hospital Celebrations: Many hospitals in India observe World Heart Day through walkathons free health check-ups, interactive radio talks, and seminars to generate awareness about heart health. Some of these hospitals include the Baby Memorial Hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala, the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute in Mumbai and the MGM New Bombay Hospital, also in Mumbai

International Celebrations of World Heart Day - A Snapshot

World Heart Day is celebrated with much fanfare across the globe. A brief snapshot of the celebrations in a few countries is given below:
  • Malaysia: A walkathon called 'Walk-a-Mile' is being organized in Selangor, Malaysia to commemorate World Heart Day to generate awareness about keeping the heart-healthy
  • New Zealand: The Heart Foundation, which is New Zealand's leading heart health charity, will be celebrating the untiring efforts of 'Heart Heroes' - those people who have shown commitment, courage, empathy, and care to promote heart health
  • Cyprus: A 'World Heart Day Run' is being organized in Nicosia, the Capital of Cyprus. The event will cover a distance of 10 km
  • Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Medical Association is organizing a marathon called 'Run for Heart' to celebrate World Heart Day

Tips for Keeping Your Heart Fit & Healthy

Some useful tips for keeping your heart healthy are briefly highlighted below:

Conclusion

World Heart Day is an ideal opportunity to bring people together to tackle the world's biggest killer and encourage them to improve their heart health. So, on 29th September 2019, let us all promise to make every heart healthier - my heart, your heart, and all our hearts - because every heartbeat matters!

References :
  1. World Heart Day - World Heart Federation, Geneva, Switzerland - (https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/)
  2. World Heart Day - World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland - (https://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/world-heart-day/en/)
  3. World Heart Day - National Heart Foundation of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand - (https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/get-involved/world-heart-day#research)


Source: Medindia

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