What is World Heart Day?
World Heart Day happens every year on the last Sunday of September, this year taking place on September 29th. The World Heart Federation (WHF) recognises this day to raise awareness on cardiovascular diseases. Their goal? To create a global community of heart heroes.
The WHF has events in over 40 countries, ranging from sports and fundraising, to health screening and educational activities. It’s all about raising awareness on cardiovascular diseases and how we can prevent them.
Why World Heart Day is important
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) take around 17.9 million lives per year. In fact, this figure is predicted to rise to nearly 23 million by 2030. This is why the WHF are committed to spreading awareness of risks and their ‘Heart Hero’ campaign.
So, what is ‘Heart Hero’? It’s someone dedicated to improving their own lifestyle and that of others.
It’s vital to understand the risk of poor heart health and its causes, whether it’s genetics or lifestyle. There are ways to reduce your risk of CVD. However, there are other factors you can’t affect, so it’s important people are aware of them. These include:
- your family history
- your age (getting older can affect your risk of CVD)
- your gender (men are at greater risk of heart disease)
- your ethnicity (people with African or Asian ancestry are at higher risk of developing CVD than other racial groups)
Becoming a heart hero
Here are 5 things you can do to become a Heart Hero:
- Exercise regularly
One of the first steps you should take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is to make sure you are physically active. This doesn’t mean you have to join the gym or run in your next local marathon (although that is great!).
It could mean walking that extra mile to work, instead of public transport, taking up jogging around your local park, or even spending the weekend playing with the kids or grandkids outside. Get moving and your heart will thank you.
- Watch your diet
Another step to improving your heart health is diet. For some, this can be the trickiest part. No one wants to give up that Friday night takeaway, but small steps can vastly improve your health.
Diet changes can also be fun, something your whole family can join in on. For example, instead of your regular Chinese takeaway, why not get the family involved and make your own? That way, you can swap ingredients out for healthier alternatives without cutting back on the meals you love.
- Meet up with friends
This might sound strange, but it’s been proven that mental conditions like loneliness can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. This means you should make a bit more time for the fun things you enjoy in life.
This could be meeting up with old friends, making new ones or joining that class you’ve been talking about. Small things which may seem insignificant, can have a big impact on both your heart health and emotional well being.
- Have regular check-ups
Keeping on top of your health through regular check-ups is extremely beneficial. It helps make you aware of any health worries or problems before they become too serious.
So, make sure that you book that check-up you have been avoiding at the doctors. It could make all the difference!
- Quit smoking
Quitting smoking is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health, especially your heart!
When you quit smoking, within two years you will have substantially reduced your risk of heart problems. This will give both you and your family some peace of mind.
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