World Heart Day 2020: ‘Use Hea

Photo: Pixabay

World Heart Day 2020: ‘Use Heart’ to beat cardiovascular disease

The World Heart Federation is calling on people to #UseHeart to beat cardiovascular disease and make healthier choices.

World Heart Day 2020: ‘Use Hea

Photo: Pixabay

On 29 September, the World Heart Federation is calling on people to #UseHeart to beat cardiovascular disease. Yes, 29 September is World Heart Day and it seems keeping your heart healthy has never been more important.

World Heart Day 2020

“We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the healthcare profession, national healthcare systems and our individual responsibilities – for our own health and for the vulnerable in society,” writes the federation.

It is said that Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death on the planet and It has many causes: from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution, and rare and neglected conditions such as Chagas Disease and cardiac amyloidosis. And that is why World Heart Day was ultimately implemented in 2012 as CVD claims around 17 million lives each year.

“In the time of COVID-19, CVD patients are faced with a double-edged threat. Not only are they more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus, but they may also be afraid to seek ongoing care for their hearts.”

Now, the federation is asking people to ‘Use Heart’ by:

  • Use Heart to make better choices
  • Use Heart to listen to your heart
  • Use Heart for society, your loved ones and you
  • Use Heart to thank the healthcare profession
  • Use Heart to take part

You can find out how to get involved in World Heart Day over here.

Making better choices

In South Africa, it is reported that heart disease and stroke are South Africa’s biggest killers after HIV and Aids, and every hour, five South Africans suffer from heart attacks.

“However, the good news is that most of these can be prevented by making lifestyle changes, including cutting back on smoking, alcohol and unhealthy foods.”

The World Health Federation recommends the following when it comes to making better choices:

‘Use Heart’ to eat well and drink wisely

  • 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 5 portions (about a handful each) of fruit and veg a day – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried
  • Keep the amount of alcohol you drink within recommended guidelines
  • Try to limit processed and prepackaged foods that are often high in salt, sugar and fat
  • Make your own healthy school or work lunches at home

‘Use Heart’ to get more active

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week
  • Or at least 75 minutes spread throughout the week of vigorous-intensity activity
  • Playing, walking, housework, dancing – they all count!
  • Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving
  • Stay fit at home – even if you’re on lockdown you can join virtual exercise classes and workouts for the whole family
  • Download an exercise app or use a pedometer to keep track of your progress

‘Use Heart’ to say no to smoking

  • It’s the single best thing you do to improve your heart health
  • Within 2 years of quitting, 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 secondhand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers
  • So by quitting (or not starting in the first place), you’ll not only improve your health but that of those around you
  • If you’re having trouble stopping, ask for professional advice and ask your employer if they provide smoking-cessation services