President, World Heart Federation
Every year, 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke.
Cardiovascular disease has many causes: from smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure – which are very common and affect a wide range of age groups and geographical regions – to less-common causes, such as Chagas and Kawasaki disease, and rare conditions such as cardiac amyloidosis. These tend to affect mainly certain populations due to factors such as where they’re from, their age and their genetic background.
But, whatever the cause, we believe that every heartbeat matters and that means that every single person has the fundamental right to heart health.
This year, on World Heart Day, our objective is to create a global community of ‘Heart Heroes’, inspiring people from all walks of life who are acting now to live longer, better, heart-healthy lives by making a promise…
As individuals: a promise to our families to cook and eat a more healthy, balanced diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables… A promise to our children to do more exercise every day and help them to be more active; to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop.
As healthcare professionals: a promise to help our patients give up smoking or lower their cholesterol, and to understand their risks of CVD.
As employers: to invest in heart-healthy workplaces, making time during the working day for exercise and offering healthy meal options.
CVD is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, causing a third of all deaths on the planet and half of all non-communicable-disease-related deaths. Around 85% of these deaths are due to heart disease and stroke.
The good news is that at least 80% of premature deaths (between the ages of 30 and 70) from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.
World Heart Day plays a crucial role in this with 1,000s of individuals and organisations around the world organising events and taking to social media to help spread the word. It is a vital global platform that we can all use to raise awareness and encourage individuals, families, communities, and governments to take action now.
Together, we have the power to reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke, helping people everywhere to live longer, better, heart-healthy lives. Because every heartbeat matters.
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