World Heart Day, be a heart hero: Small changes, bigger impacts

Dr S Venkatesh, Lead Consultant – Interventional Cardiologist, Aster RV Hospital

To raise awareness and control the rising number of people being affected by cardiovascular diseases, the World Heart federation founded World Heart Day in 2000. An annual initiative to spread the word about how premature mortality due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) can be combatted, 29th September is marked as the World Health Day. CVDs and heart problems are growing to become the most common epidemic of our era and hence require attention and action on a large scale by small steps at the earliest.

World Heart Day is observed to promote various steps and the changes in one’s lifestyle that can prevent card cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and any other related condition. The day is aimed to facilitate action to educate people how controlling the risk factors through diet and other routine habits can help avoid so many deaths due to CVDs which have become the number one killer today.

This year, the World Heart Day is themed around asking the world to be ‘Heart Heroes’ by making a heart promise to someone they love or care about to eat a better healthy diet, to stay more active, to stay no to smoking, etc.

As the foundation puts it:

  • A promise to our families to cook and eat more healthily
  • A promise to our children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop
  • A promise as a healthcare professional to help patients give up smoking and lower their cholesterol
  • A promise as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy hearts
  • A promise as an employee to invest in heart-healthy workplaces

A simple promise for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.

  • As highlighted above, by making a few small changes in our lives and improving the quality of life for ourselves and our near and dear ones, we can reduce the risk of heart diseases by a significant the amount and also be heart heroes.
  • Eating a balanced nutritious diet
  • Consume more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products.
  • Reduce the intake of total fat, saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol.
  • Limit the consumption of red meat, sweets, and sweetened beverages.
  • Cut back on salt.
  • Eat almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other tree nuts as they carry heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
  • Reducing the alcohol intake
  • Not smoking and not consuming tobacco
  • Staying active and regularly doing exercise, even if it is for 30 minutes a day.
  • Use stairs instead of elevators.
  • Manage stress calmly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • The unhealthy lifestyle that we adapt to often raise our blood pressure, elevate blood glucose, make us overweight and obese, all of which are destructive for good health. So, it is important to manage one’s cholesterol levels, blood pressure and also diabetes.

The steps mentioned above are small transformations that you can incorporate in your lives as well as in the lives of your friends and family. This will let you be a heart hero, improve the heart health of many people and also let you make an impact by providing a better life to yourself as well as those around you. So make sure you are informed and you also let your family and friends stay aware and make these little lifestyle modifications in your day to day lives.

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