Every year, over 17 million people die from heart disease. As a way to fight this, the World Heart Federation created World Heart Day. It’s an event held every year on September 29. People worldwide can find events that raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD) — its warning signs, the steps you can take to fight it, and how to help those around you who may be suffering. So on September 29, fight CVD by getting involved with a World Heart Day event near you.
History of World Heart Day
World Heart Day is observed and celebrated annually on September 29 to increase awareness of cardiovascular diseases and how to control them to negate their global impact. The World Heart Federation established the international holiday in collaboration with the World Health Organization. The president of the World Heart Federation from 1997 to 1999, Antoni Bayés de Luna, had conceived this idea. The first celebration of the annual event took place on September 24, 2000, and, until 2011, World Heart Day was observed on the last Sunday in September.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the most common cause of death globally. An estimated 17 million people die from CVD every year. Coronary heart disease or strokes were the significant causes of these deaths. A common misconception about CVD is that it impacts more people in developed countries who rely more on technology and lead sedentary lifestyles. But more than 80% of the deaths occur in middle-income and low-income countries. Fortunately, the leading causes of cardiovascular disease are modifiable factors, which include lack of exercise, smoking, and a poor diet. However, countries’ economic systems are also majorly impacted by cardiovascular diseases — the cost of treatment is high, and failure to treat the diseases timeously results in loss of productivity and long absences from work.
More than 90 countries take part in this international observance every year. As a result, World Heart Day has proven to be an effective means for disseminating information about CVD. The high level of involvement from governments and organizations is most important for developing countries, which are heavily affected by these diseases.
Traditions of The Day
The World Heart Federation sponsors the international event every year and declares a theme for the day. Distribution of information and discussions on cardiovascular diseases take place on platforms such as forums, television talk shows, podcasts, posters, and more. In addition, walks, fund-raisers, free health checkups, concerts, sporting events, and other activities are hosted to encourage people to be more active and aware of their health. Before the holiday, scientific meetings and gatherings on cardiovascular research are hosted by medical societies.
By The Numbers
115,000 – the number of times our heart beats in a day.
2,000 – the number of gallons of blood pumped by the heart daily.
1893 – the year in which the first open-heart surgery occurred.
3,500 – the age in years of an Egyptian mummy in which the earliest-known case of heart disease was identified.
1,200 – the fastest heartbeat per minute — that of the pygmy shrew.
One pound – the weight of the human heart.
60,000 – the number of miles our blood vessel system can extend to.
One thousand five hundred pounds – the weight of a blue whale’s heart.
1.5 gallons – the amount of blood pumped by our heart each minute.
Why do we celebrate Heart Day?
The main aim of celebrating this day is to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease, its prevention, and its impact on people worldwide. CVD, including heart disease and stroke, claims 17.9 million lives yearly. Given this fact, the day highlights individuals’ actions to prevent and control CVD. The day is celebrated every year with a theme.
How To Observe World Heart Day
Designate the day for a checkup
You may even be able to find a World Heart Day event near you that offers health check services. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Get your heart rate up with fitness events.
Maintaining a healthy weight and low Body Mass Index (BMI) can help decrease your chances of developing heart disease. Whether you attend a gym or fitness class — or prefer to get involved at a World Heart Day event — try to make being active a priority.
Schedule life-changing seminars
Most cardiac emergencies occur near someone who could potentially help — so setting up a CPR class and learning how to resuscitate a person could save lives. Cooking demonstrations, health lectures, and fitness lessons are significant events to plan for World Heart Day.
4 Crucial Facts About Heart Disease
Heart disease costs all of us.
The U.S. spends approximately $200 billion each year on health care services, medication, and lost productivity due to heart disease.
There are three common risk factors.
Smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (specifically LDL) are critical risk factors for heart disease. Half of all Americans suffer from at least one of these.
Sodium intake is putting kids at risk.
Approximately 10 percent of children in the U.S. have high blood pressure due to the consumption of too much sodium.
Early warning signs are crucial.
Approximately 47 percent of cardiac-related deaths occur outside of a hospital — demonstrating that people don’t take early warning signs seriously enough.
Why World Heart Day Is Important
It’s for your heart — and all our hearts.
As the World Heart Federation says, on September 29, ask yourself: “What can I do right now to look after my heart…and your heart?”
It highlights worldwide events.
World Heart Day is a universal platform that can focus attention on the millions who die from heart disease each year. Through worldwide events, the day offers health and fitness tips so people can lead a life free of cardiovascular ailments.
It encourages people to take action.
By offering a variety of fun, healthy events — walks, runs, public talks, concerts, etc. — the day can inspire you to fight cardiovascular disease and live a longer, healthier life.