World Heart Day is the biggest platform of the World Heart Federation to raise awareness about heart health, particularly preventing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). This annual event is celebrated on 29 September of every year.
With the ongoing pandemic, it is more important than ever to take care of one’s heart health since having CVDs could increase one’s risk of getting infected. As part of the celebration of World Health Day 2021, here are some information and tips on how to take care of the heart.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CVDs are the world’s leading killer. Around one out of three patients die due to cardiovascular diseases. In the Philippines, it is considered to be the number one cause of death in which over 50,000 people die each year. But it is never too late to change the lifestyle towards a healthier heart.
Here are the following healthy practices to promote good heart health according to WHO:
Eat a healthy diet that is good for the heart- Foods that are good for the heart include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Salty meats, such as bacon, ham, hotdog, sausage and also salty foods should not be eaten regularly. Avoid processed, canned and fast food, as well as sweetened snacks.
Lose weight and increase physical activity- If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is highly recommended. The higher the intra-abdominal fat there is the higher risk also for developing CVDs. Increasing physical activity could help lose weight as it improves blood pressure, burns fat, and help in weight control. Adults are recommended to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity spread throughout the week.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol- tobacco use and second-hand smoke are harmful to the heart. WHO recommends quitting tobacco to reduce the risk of heart disease. More so, alcohol consumption is linked to over 200 injuries and CVDs. Since there is no safe level of drinking alcohol, it is best to avoid drinking it to protect the heart.
Check blood sugar and blood pressure regularly- WHO also recommends regular monitoring of both blood pressure and blood sugar even if others do not display symptoms of high blood pressure or high blood sugar. If a person is diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes, medicines should be taken regularly.
Many believe that heart disease typically affects men. However, NDTV (New Delhi Television) Food reported that coronary heart disease is also a leading cause of death among women. Signs of poor health due to a cardiovascular disease do not often appear visibly on women so their issues often get ignored or unrecognized, which prevents them from receiving timely treatment.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of self-awareness even in women. They are not just the caregivers of our homes but they also take care of the emotional needs of the family and sometimes the stress they experience could be a risk factor for heart disease.
World Heart Day is a day to choose self-care. Getting a heart check-up done, especially on women, is a proactive way for better heart health. As NDTV reported, regular heart check-ups play a crucial role to detect possible problems in heart health as soon as possible and address them through treatment and lifestyle changes.