World Heart Day 2015 – How Heart-Healthy is Your Environment?
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) and strokes remain the leading cause of death globally.
A 2015 report by American Heart Association (AHA) confirms previous estimates by the World Heath Organization (WHO) and other leading heart-health researchers that 17.3 million people die each year worldwide from CVD’s and strokes.
This represents over 30% of total global deaths, more than victims of cancer, HIV, AIDS and malaria.
To put it into perspective, this massive figure equals the populations of the four largest US cities, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston!
It is now estimated that 7.4 million deaths are from coronary heart disease and 6.7 million are from strokes, with the rest from other cardiovascular diseases such as cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and deep vein thrombosis.
The number of Americans dying from CVD’s has decreased since the 1980’s. Between 2001 and 2011 the death rate dropped by over 30%, according to the AHA 2015 report. This is largely due to better use of medical therapies, for example, now, in the US, emergency transportation is available for someone having a heart attack, where they would be rushed to a catheterization lab for a stent fitting.
However, despite better medical facilities, the number of deaths worldwide from CVD’s and strokes is expected to rise to over 23 million by 2030, represented by statistics from AHA and WHO.
Other countries simply don’t have this same high level of medical care so deaths are inevitable.
In the US though, childhood diabetes and obesity is rising, so future generations will contribute to the increasing problem unless other measures are taken.
80% of CDV’s and strokes can be prevented
Whilst medical treatment continues improving with billions of dollars invested in research and development, the reality of the matter is that an estimated *80% of CVD and strokes can be simply avoided all together, by a change in lifestyle.
Four main factors contribute towards heart disease:
- Tobacco use
- Poor diet, high in salt
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol
WHO report that smoking increases the risk of dying from CVD’s 2-3 fold.
Life’s Simple 7
One of AHA’s campaigns “Life’s Simple 7” is used to show Americans what needs to be done to start preventative measures against heart disease.
- Get active
- Control cholesterol
- Eat a healthy diet
- Manage blood pressure
- Lose weight
- Reduce blood sugar
- Stop smoking
The long-term goals of AHA are to reduce deaths from CVD’s and strokes by 20%, by 2020, and to also improve cardiovascular health by 20%.
Raising more awareness – World Heart Day – 29 September
Since 2000, World Heart Day is celebrated across the world, putting the spotlight on heart disease. It was set up to raise awareness and spread the word that prevention is possible!
This international campaign encourages people to make lifestyle changes that will help their heart now and in years to come as well as raise funds for research and further campaigning.
With increased obesity levels and a growing number of sedentary children, campaigns such as World Heart Day are even more important than ever before, and its success depends on proactive organizations helping the cause.
People find all sorts of things to blame for being unhealthy. However, a lot can be attributed to the environment. World Heart Day this year is themed around just this.
Some points to think about:
The home environment:
- Ensure your cupboards are stocked with healthy food
- Put a smoking ban at home
- Exchange TV time for activities
The work environment:
- Demand a smoking ban
- Help colleagues to quit smoking or find the proper help they need
- Cycle or walk to work, or even just get off the bus a few stops early
The social environment:
- Encourage outdoor activities for the whole family, or even helping with housework (it’s active!)
- Limit time spent in bars or restaurants
- Limit hour spent seated
Join in and help yourself and others!
World Heart Day is the perfect date to make that important step in changing your heart health. Whether that is committing to quit smoking, getting active or a combination of changes, start today!
Also, join the thousands of other people across the world that will be organizing events to promote healthy hearts. By getting involved you could help reduce the number of deaths per year through education and encouragement.
*World Heart Federation (WHF)