World Heart Day is a health awareness event that is hosted every year on September 29.

Each year cardiovascular diseases take the lives of 17 million people, with 80% of these deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. Of these cardiovascular diseases, 7.3 million are deaths due to heart disease and 6.2% to strokes.

Cardiovascular disease is a major non-communicable disease that can be prevented by developing a healthy lifestyle.  

Cardiovascular diseases are:

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Peripheral artery disease

It is important that the global efforts to fight cardiovascular disease do not rest on policy makers and world leaders only, but on individuals, families and homes.

The World Heart Federation and The World Health Organization (WHO) are challenging us all to take charge of our family's heart health and become our home's advocate for healthy living.

We have one heart and not two, if the heart is bad it leaves us without a good one. Fortunately most of the deaths by heart attacks can be prevented by:

  • Preventing cardiovascular disease
  • Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack

Prevention- Heart disease can be prevented by eliminating the risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease. Awareness of these risk factors and their impact on heart health is a major step in preventing heart attacks.

The majority of deaths can be prevented by healthy eating, regular exercise and no smoking.  These lifestyle habits are the key actions in preventing heart disease.

Your chances of developing cardiovascular are increased if  any of the following is present:

  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight/obesity
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle

These are some actions that would benefit the whole family
- Ban smoking from home
- Stock your home with healthy food for health eating
      Click Here for a guide to healthy eating and shopping.

- Limit the amount of time spent sitting for leisure-Less than two hours of watching TV.
- Increase physical activity 
- Go cycling, hiking or on walking trips
- Walk or bicycle instead of using the car whenever possible.
- Have your blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol checked by a health professional.
- Assess your weight health using the body mass index (BMI).   
If your body mass index is over 25, plan to lose 5-10% of body, this applies to each member of the family.   

Warning Signs- Over 70% of  heart emergencies occur in the home with another family member present.  Knowing the warning signs of a  heart attack can save the life of a family member.

The warning signs are:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort or pain spreading to one or both arms, the back, the neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath without discomfort
  • Shortness of breath with discomfort
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weakness

If you suspect a member of your family  or another person is having a heart attack, treat it as an emergency and call for emergency help.
Take care of yours and your family heart health by being physically active, this includes all members of your family: children, adults and seniors.

You can take control of your health and prevent cardiovascular disease with our disease prevention program. Learn more about it.