29 September: The World Heart Day
World Heart Day: prevention is our best defence
Every year, on 29 September, the world comes together to celebrate World Heart Day, an event dedicated to raising awareness of cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death globally. This day aims to promote awareness of the risk factors associated with heart disease and encourage people to take care of their heart and arteries.
World Heart Day programmes and initiatives
During the months of September and October, numerous initiatives related to World Heart Day take place in Italy under the aegis of this important event. A complete list of events and appointments can be consulted on the website FondazioneCuore.it and on the web portal Conacuore.it, the coordination of voluntary associations.
This day is essential to educate the population about the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and lifestyles that can positively influence heart health. One of the most important aspects is the knowledge of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors
The main risk factors for heart health, on which you can take action, include
- Sedentary lifestyle and poor exercise
- Poor diet
- Overweight and obesity
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood
- Diabetes mellitus
- Tobacco smoking
Tobacco is a major enemy to heart health, and awareness campaigns, nicotine addiction cessation courses and the promotion of less harmful alternatives are needed to reduce the risk. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, in collaboration with the World Hearth Federation and Newcastle University in Australia, 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease are attributable to smoking.
Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases
Scientific societies of cardiology, physicians and associations work together to promote the prevention of heart-related diseases. It is essential to adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and stop smoking. Reducing stress is also crucial. These practices are the best defence against the onset and progression of cardiovascular diseases, especially those related to atherosclerosis, such as myocardial infarction and angina pectoris. People already suffering from cardiovascular disease should carefully follow the prescriptions of their cardiologist and undergo regular examinations and check-ups.
History of World Heart Day
The first idea of a World Heart Health Day was proposed by the World Heart Federation (WHF) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). This initiative was conceived by cardiologist Antoni Bayés de Luna, who was president of the WHF from 1997 to 1999. Initially, World Heart Day was celebrated on the last Sunday in September, but was later moved to 29 September.
World Heart Day is called every year by the World Heart Federation. In Italy, it is promoted by the Fondazione Italiana Per il Cuore (Italian Heart Foundation), in collaboration with Conacuore (National Coordination of Voluntary Heart Disease Associations), which groups around 80 patient associations, and the Giovanni Lorenzini Foundation (Milan – New York). These historic organisations are partners in this initiative and enjoy the patronage of numerous national bodies and scientific societies.
The president of Conacuore, Giuseppe Ciancamerla, said: ‘We confirm our commitment to raising awareness. There are hundreds of events organised by associations and hospital centres throughout the country”. These events include awareness campaigns, free examinations and screenings, conferences, first aid courses and demonstration activities.
World Heart Day is a crucial time to reflect on cardiovascular health and take steps to prevent heart disease. Every person has a role to play in adopting a healthy lifestyle and promoting heart health. Remember that prevention is our best ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Knowledge of risk factors and the support of the organisations involved can make a difference in safeguarding our lives and improving our cardiovascular health.