World Heart Day is a global movement in which individuals, families, communities, and governments unite in the fight against cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
The World Heart Federation initiated World Heart Day to raise awareness for people worldwide that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of deaths worldwide. As per WHO, in 2019, an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs, accounting for 32% of all global deaths. 85 percent of these deaths were caused by a heart attack or a stroke. The aim is to raise awareness about CVD, so that people can learn how to prevent and control it. (World Health Federation, 2021)
This initiative conveys to us how important it is to reducing risk factors like smoking, unhealthy food choices, and physical inactivity which could prevent early deaths from heart disease and stroke.
About Cardiovascular Diseases
CVD is a group of conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels (veins and arteries). Did you know that the human heart is the largest and strongest muscle in the body? It begins beating approximately three weeks after conception. However, despite being unique and robust, your heart can become vulnerable due to risk factors such as smoking, a poor diet, and chronic stress.
A preexisting cardiac problem and other physiological variables, such as hypertension or high blood cholesterol can significantly damage the immune system. When the functioning of the heart is impaired, it is called cardiovascular disease, an umbrella term for any condition of the cardiovascular system. (World Health Federation)
How Can You Prevent Heart Diseases: Strategies to Prevent
A heart-healthy lifestyle can aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Here are some heart-healthy recommendations.
Quit Tobacco And Related Products
One of the healthiest things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking and tobacco. Even if you don’t smoke, avoiding passive smoke is critical. Tobacco contains chemicals that are known to be harmful to the heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which raises blood pressure and heart rate because the heart has to work harder to supply enough oxygen to the body and brain. However, there is some good news. The risk of heart disease begins to decrease as soon as a day after quitting. After one year of not smoking, the risk of heart disease is roughly half that of a smoker. The advantages start immediately, no matter how long or how much you smoked.
Daily Physical Activity
Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day as it can lower the risk of heart disease. Physical activity aids in weight management. It also reduces the likelihood of developing other heart-related disorders such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Follow A Heart-healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help protect the heart, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A heart-healthy diet should include adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, other legumes, lentils, seafood, and lean meats.
You can add dairy products with low or no-fat to your diet, complete grains, olive oil, and other good fats.
Cut down on drinking alcohol, eating saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy products), and trans fat (found in fried fast food, chips, and baked goods) from your diet. These are harmful to our bodies over time.
Sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of obesity, hypertension, heart attack, diabetes, and depression. Make sleep a priority in your life. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up simultaneously each day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet to make it easier to sleep. (Mayo Clinic, 2022)
If you feel like you’ve been getting enough sleep but are still exhausted during the day, ask your doctor if you should be checked for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can increase your risk of heart disease. Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, brief pauses in breathing during sleep and waking up gasping for air.
Celebrate Your Heart on World Health Day
Our hearts beat faithfully, delivering what we need to nourish our body via the cardiovascular system. Protect this valuable life sustaining organ. As we celebrate World Heart Day in 2022, we urge you all to be more aware and make the necessary changes in your lifestyle to lead a heart healthy and happy life.
World Health Federation. “About.” World Heart Day, 30 June 2021, world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/about-whd.
Medical News Today. “The Top 10 Leading Causes of Death in the United States.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.
Mayo Clinic. “Top Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Jan. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502.