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28-09-2020 12:01

Announcement of the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non-Governmental Organizations on the World Heart Day

Since 1999, September 29 has been celebrated as World Heart Day. The Day was established by the World Cardiology Federation, with the support of the World Health Organization. It aims to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, which has grown rapidly in recent decades, and unfortunately it no longer affects only the populations of developed countries, but also those of developing ones.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death on the planet. Every year, 17.9 million people die from it, a number that accounts for 31% of all deaths. Of these deaths, 80% are due to coronary heart disease (eg heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (eg stroke) and occur mainly in low- and middle-income countries.

Our heart is the size of our fist and is the strongest muscle in the body. It starts beating about three weeks after the fetus is conceived. By the age of 70, our hearts will beat 2.5 billion times. However, the heart can easily become vulnerable to common risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy diet and stress. By limiting these factors and monitoring your blood pressure regularly, your risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced.

This year's message for World Heart Day is "Use your heart to fight cardiovascular disease". We live in unprecedented times. The pandemic brought to center stage medical professions, national health systems, and individual responsibility - for our own health and that of our vulnerable fellow human beings. According to the World Heart Association, we cannot predict the evolution of the pandemic, but we know very well that it is more important than ever to take care of our hearts. Because of COVID-19, patients with cardiovascular disease are at risk for a more serious form of the virus and at the same time may be afraid to seek ongoing care for their heart.

As the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non-Governmental Organizations, we applaud the efforts of Civil Society, Government and Non-Governmental Organizations for enlightenment, prevention and treatment. On the occasion of World Day, we all use our hearts to influence those around us:

• As individuals we set an example to imitate for our loved ones.

• As health professionals we help patients make positive changes in their lives for their heart health.

• As employers we invest in the heart health of employees.

• As governments we implement policies and initiatives that will contribute to improving the heart health of society as a whole.

Together, and individually, we have the power to reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular disease, helping our fellow human beings live longer and better lives, keeping their hearts healthy.