Scale up prevention of heart attack and stroke- World Heart Day 2017
Scale up prevention of heart attack and stroke- World Heart Day 2017 : World Heart Day on 29 September is the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD). World Heart Day is the World Heart Federation’s biggest global awareness raising platform for cardiovascular disease. Since it was launched in 2009, it has grown rapidly and now enjoys huge global participation and support.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.7 million people every year, 31% of all global deaths. Triggering these diseases – which manifest primarily as heart attacks and strokes – are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. These in turn show up in people as raised blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity, risks detrimental to good heart health.
Key messages to protect heart health
Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day of the week will help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and limiting your salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day, also helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
What can I do to avoid a heart attack or a stroke?
(WHO: Online Q&A Updated September 2015)
Q: What can I do to avoid a heart attack or a stroke?
A: WHO estimates that more than 17.5 million people died of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke in 2012. Contrary to popular belief, more than 3 out of 4 of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and men and women were equally affected.
The good news, however, is that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, and not using tobacco products are the keys to prevention. Checking and controlling risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar or diabetes is also very important.
Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet is crucial to a healthy heart and circulation system. This should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish and pulses with restricted salt, sugar and fat intake. Alcohol should also be used in moderation.
Take regular physical activity: At least 30 minutes of regular physical activity every day helps to maintain cardiovascular fitness; at least 60 minutes on most days of the week helps to maintain healthy weight.
Avoid tobacco use: Tobacco in every form is very harmful to health – cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chewable tobacco. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is also dangerous. The risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately after a person stops using tobacco products, and can drop by as much as half after 1 year.
Check and control your overall cardiovascular risk: An important aspect of preventing heart attacks and strokes is by providing treatment and counselling to individuals at high risk (those with a 10 year cardiovascular risk equal to or above 30%) and reducing their cardiovascular risk. A health worker can estimate your cardiovascular risk using simple risk charts and provide the appropriate advice for managing your risk factors.
- Know your blood pressure: High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but is one of the biggest causes of sudden stroke or heart attack. Have your blood pressure checked and know your numbers. If it is high, you will need to change your lifestyle to incorporate a healthy diet with less salt intake and increase physical activity, and may need medications to control your blood pressure.
- Know your blood lipids: Raised blood cholesterol and abnormal blood lipids increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Blood cholesterol needs to be controlled through a healthy diet and, if necessary, by appropriate medications.
- Know your blood sugar: Raised blood glucose (diabetes) increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you have diabetes it is very important to control your blood pressure and blood sugar to minimize the risk.