Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day is held annually on September 29th to inform people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death. CVD claims approximately 17.9 million lives each year. The campaign is used to educate people on the actions they can take to prevent and control CVD by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.
By making small changes in our lives, we can greatly reduce CVD. Those with CVD and underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for COVID-19.
- Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices – choose water or unsweetened juices instead
- Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative
- Try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day – they can be fresh, frozen, canned, or dried
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five times per week
- As an alternative, get at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity spread throughout the week
- Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk, or cycle instead of driving
- Stay fit at home – use virtual exercise classes for workouts when unable to go to the gym
- Download an exercise app to track progress
- Refraining from smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health
- Within two years of quitting smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced
- Within 15 years, the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker
- Exposure to second-hand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers
- Seek professional advice if struggling to stop smoking