World Heart Day 2019: ‘My Heart, Your Heart- DR.K.M.CHERIAN
World Heart Day is celebrated on 29th September every year to increase awareness of being heart healthy throughout the world by World Heart Federation since 2010 with a new theme every year. This year the theme is ‘My Heart, Your Heart’, through which the mission is to promote heart health equity by making a promise to our families to cook and eat more healthily, to our children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop, as a healthcare professional to help patients give up smoking and lower their cholesterol, as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy hearts, as an employee to invest in heart-healthy workplaces.
Non communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, and cardiovascular deaths including heart attack and stroke contribute to more than 50% of these deaths. It is much more common in the developing countries like India and women are more affected. Compared to the western developed nations where heart attack affects people more than 55 years old, it occurs 2 decades earlier in India affecting young men and women in their 3o’s. 85% of these deaths are preventable by adapting a heart healthy lifestyle, which includes adapting a healthy diet including fruits / vegetables, regular exercise (at least 30 minutes per day brisk walking), avoiding tobacco / alcohol, good sleep (at least 6 hours per day). By having regular health check up’s (especially if you are >40 years old, or even earlier if there is a strong family history of heart disease at younger age), to identify high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol early and receiving appropriate treatment, you can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke thereby ensuring longer and better lives. We can all be Heart Heroes by making a promise to someone we love or care about, a promise to eat more healthily, to get more active and to say no to smoking. The other group of patients who die at young age (< 40 years) due to sudden cardiac death, are due to inherited cardiomyopathies, which is due to a mutation in the gene coding for contractile protein of heart muscle. The awareness of this is India is significantly lacking and dedicated clinics like Cardiac Risk in Young (C.R.Y. Clinic) provide a comprehensive care for the patients and family by providing diagnostic testing, genetic testing, family counselling and providing appropriate medical, surgical and device therapy to prevent sudden cardiac death.
To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in this country Individuals must take control of their own heart health, sharing the power by understanding their own and their families’ risk of CVD and acting to improve it. Governments and Ministries of Health must accurately understand the scale of the problem by investing in CVD surveillance and monitoring. Countries should also implement population-wide interventions to reduce CVD, including: Comprehensive tobacco control policies Taxes to reduce the intake of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt Walking and cycle paths to increase physical activity Strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol, Healthy school meals for children.
By sharing our knowledge, recommendations and strategies, we can all inspire each other to become heart healthy. A simple promise for my heart, for your heart and for all our hearts.