September 29, 2011 marks the 11 year anniversary of celebrating World Heart Day, an international campaign created in 2000 by the World Heart Federation, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, to increase public awareness about the threat of heart disease and stroke.
The theme of World Heart Day 2011 is “One World, One Home, One Heart.” As part of this theme, the World Heart Federation, the World Health Organization, and the American Heart Association are calling on individuals to take steps to reduce their own and their family’s risk of heart disease and stroke, such as eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and not smoking.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease causes 29 per cent of all deaths globally each year, making it the world’s number one killer.
According to the World Health Organization, “Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.3 million lives a year. Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, smoking, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight, obesity and physical inactivity.”
What Can You Do to Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke?
As reported by the CDC, the World Heart Federation has identified four actions that you and your family can take to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke:
“1. Ban smoking from your home.
* Implement a new rule in your home: for every cigarette someone smokes, an extra household chore is waiting!
2. Stock your home with healthy food options.
* Make sure every evening meal contains at least two to three servings of vegetables per person.
3. Be active.
* Organize outdoor activities for the family, such as cycling or hiking trips, or simply playing in the garden.
* When possible, instead of using the car, take your bicycle or walk from home to your destination.
4. Know your numbers.
* Once you know your overall CVD risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health. Make this action plan clearly visible in your home as a reminder!”
Here is additional information provided by the CDC on steps you can take to live a healthy lifestyle that may prevent or lower your risks of heart attack or stroke:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
- Limit alcohol use.
“Engaging in healthy behaviors helps to control certain risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and prevent heart disease and stroke,” the CDC states.
What to Do if a Family Member is Suffering a Heart Attack or Stroke?
Not all heart events are preventable. It is therefore important to know what action to take should a heart attack or stroke occur in the home.
The CDC presents the following tips and links to additional information on what to do if you suspect a family member of having a heart attack or stroke:
Seek medical help immediately
“Over 70 per cent of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and available to help a victim.” It is important to know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and call 911 immediately. Seconds can save a life.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.
- Visit CDC’s heart disease Web site.
- Visit CDC’s stroke Web site.
- Visit the World Heart Federation’s Web site.
- Visit the World Health Organization’s Web site.
Activities for World Heart Day
Activities organized by members and partners of the World Heart Federation include workplace campaigns, public talks, concerts, and sporting events.
The American Heart Association (AHA), encourages people to honor World Heart Day by joining in one of many Heart Walks taking place throughout the U.S. The AHA provides an interactive map on its website HeartWalk.org, to help you find and join a Heart Walk in your area.
For additional information on World Heart Day, contact the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CDC funds heart disease and stroke prevention programs in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Read additional information about these programs.
- The World Health Organization. Preventing Chronic Diseases: A Vital Investment. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2005; and
- Centers for Disease Control. Heart Disease Web site.
- News on Heart Disease & Stroke;
- What are these conditions; Causes;
- Symptoms & Diagnosis;
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