Today marks the twentieth World Heart Day (WHD). What is it and why is it so important?
Established by the World Heart Federation (WHF), World Heart Day is all about bringing the cardiovascular community together to educate and inspire people all around the world to fight against cardiovascular disease together. It is a day used to emphasise the impact of the condition on worldwide deaths, of which there are a staggering 17.9 million per year.
Though it is undoubtedly important to reflect on the impact of these diseases, World Heart Day focusses more positively on inspiring and supporting patients and their carers to be proactive in managing, controlling heart disease as well as preventing the onset of CVD.
COVID-19 and Cardiovascular disease
As we pass six months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the increased risk the virus poses to CVD sufferers is well established.1 Fear of contraction further raises threat to patient health, as they are less likely to attend vital healthcare appointments.
Given the inherent risk of COVID-19 and the abundance of CVD sufferers amongst the population, there has never been a more critical time to look after our health to minimise our personal risk of CVD.
How can you help?
So what can you do to help this World Heart Day…well, the WHF wants you to “use heart”, but what does that really mean?
- Understand what a “heart healthy life” is. Many of the most common causes of CVD can be controlled. By making sensible choices such as healthy eating, not smoking, abiding by alcohol guidelines and exercising we can all help to prevent CVD in ourselves.
- Listen to your body. If you suffer from a heart condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure etc and notice changes to your condition, do not avoid calling the emergency services and attending your regular appointments as a result of COVID-19. These health services are equipped to keep you safe during your visit.
- Use your influence. As a patient or as a support you can set a good example to others around you. As an employer you can invest in the heart health of your employees by promoting healthy eating in the office, supporting cycle to work schemes or subsidising gym memberships etc. On a higher level, governments are being encouraged to implement more policies that will promote better heart health in society for example smoking bans and sugar taxes.
- Use your compassion. During the pandemic we have seen an incredible societal effort from individuals, companies and communities supporting each other. As well as looking after ourselves we need to think of others, act selflessly and look after those who need help the most, for example those that are undergoing treatment, with heart conditions that pose them at greater risk during this COVID-19.
- Seek help. In uncertain times it can be difficult to reach out and ask for help. Find the support and solutions that work for you. Connecting with others that may be experiencing the same feelings, behaviours can help you to manage your health your way.
The vast amount of people both in the UK and globally that are suffering from cardiovascular disease or linked conditions, means that this is an area Talking Medicines are keen to understand and help in. If you would like to find out more about our data and what we are doing to help in the fight against cardiovascular disease please check out one of our other blog posts which you can access here. Thank you and please remember to use heart.