Want to discuss matters of the heart? Well, this is the day. September 29 of every year is observed as World Heart Day and is celebrated with the aim of increasing public awareness of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and how to prevent or control them to negate their global impact. This international holiday was established in 1999 by the World Heart Federation in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). The idea for this yearly event was conceived by the former president of the World Heart Federation (WFH), Antoni Bayés de Luna. It was first celebrated on September 24, 2000, and was originally observed on the last Sunday in September, until 2011. Since 2012, World Heart Day has been observed on September 29 following the pledge by world leaders to reduce global mortality rates by 25% from cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and heart disease by 2025.
Globally, over 90 countries take part in this international commemoration every year, proving World Heart Day an effective means for the dissemination of information about CVD. World Heart Day is sponsored each year by the World Heart Federation and a theme is declared for the day. Medical societies hold scientific meetings on cardiovascular research prior to the holiday. The day is celebrated with concerts, free health check-ups, fundraisers, walks, marathon runs, awareness events, and sporting events conducted by governments and non-governmental organizations to encourage people on the need to be more active and aware of their health. Platforms such as television talk shows, podcasts, forums, and posters are used to distribute information and hold discussions regarding cardiovascular diseases.
Significance of World Heart Day
According to World Heart Federation, 18.6 million people die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) each year, with strokes and coronary heart disease being the major cause of death. Over 80% of the fatalities are in low-income and middle-income countries and since the cost of treatment is high, some patients forego treatment and hence become less productive, contributing negatively to the economic system. Since CVD remains the world’s number one killer, this significant day is meant to make people aware of its prevention and control. The main causes of cardiovascular diseases are smoking, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise. Addressing these causes and leading a healthy lifestyle is one major way of preventing cardiovascular diseases.
World Heart Day is a universal platform that focuses attention on the millions of lives lost each year from heart disease. Through events celebrated worldwide, this day provides health and fitness tips to help people lead a life free of cardiovascular diseases. It also inspires people to take action in fighting cardiovascular diseases and living a longer, healthier life, through the fun, healthy events like concerts, walks, runs, and public talks held on the day. For the 520 million people living with cardiovascular disease, the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly heart-wrenching, since they are at more risk of contracting severe forms of the virus. Many of them are afraid of attending emergency and routine appointments, hence isolate themselves from friends and family. As we also continue to fight COVID-19, there is no better time than now to be aware of our health and that of our loved ones. For your heart and someone else’s, what can you do right now to look after them?
Say YES to Heart Health!
The Theme of World Heart Day 2021
Every year, the day is commemorated with a specific theme. The theme of this year’s World Heart Day is ‘harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of CVD globally’. When it comes to your health, strengthening your heart is among the best things you can do. To achieve this, here are some healthy heart choices;
- Learn Your Health History.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get active by exercising more and sitting less.
- For the people you love, quit smoking.
- Rethink what you drink.
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
On this World Heart Day, fight CVD by attending a World Heart Day event near you. Hearty World Heart Day to you!