World Heart Day
World Heart Day (WHD) is the 29th of September 2017. This day was created by the World Heart Foundation (WHF) and is the biggest platform for the world’s heart organisations to raise awareness for heart diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD).
What’s the aim of World Heart Day?
The heart is one of the most important organs in the body and WHD plays an important role in building awareness for all matters of the heart, across the globe. The awareness day aims to educate people on the best ways to improve heart health and improve people’s quality of life.
The WHF state that the aim of WHD is “to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical activity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and strokes could be avoided”.
What is cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
CVD is an umbrella term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels. The NHS state that there are four main types of CVD, which are coronary heart disease, strokes, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease.
Coronary heart disease – is where oxygenated blood flow is restricted and blocked from reaching your heart. This can be due to either a blood clot or a build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma) in the coronary arteries.
Stroke – The brain needs oxygen and nutrients to function fully, but when someone suffers a stroke, the oxygenated blood is restricted or blocked from reaching the brain, which causes brain cells to begin dying. This can cause brain damage and possibly death.
Peripheral arterial disease – is caused by oxygenated blood being blocked or restricted on its way to your limbs. The usual symptom of this disease is pain in your legs while walking.
Aortic disease – the Aorta is one of the main blood vessels in the circulatory system and has the job of carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Aortic disease is where the Aorta becomes weakened and bulges outwards, causing pain in areas such as your chest, back or stomach.
The risk factors for cardiovascular disease
There are a number of risk factors attributed to CVD and the NHS suggest these are the main ones:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- high blood cholesterol
- lack of exercise
- being overweight or obese
- a family history of heart disease
- ethnic background
To reduce the risk of you suffering from CVD you can try and make lifestyle changes. These include eating a more healthy diet, stopping smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, and exercise more regularly.
The Facts of cardiovascular disease
- CVD’s claim the lives of over 17 million people globally each year, which is more than cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes combined.
- There are around 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK.
- CVD causes more than a quarter (26 percent) of all deaths in the UK; that’s nearly 160,000 deaths each year.
- On average there are 435 deaths a day or one death every three minutes caused by CVD in the UK.
- Since the BHF was established the annual number deaths from CVD in the UK has fallen by more than half.
- CVD’s cost to the UK economy (including premature death and disability) is estimated to be over £15 billion each year.
- Healthcare costs relating to CVD are estimated at up to £11 billion each year.
The World Heart Foundation’s infographic on cardiovascular disease