World Heart Day is celebrated on 29 September each year. In May 2012, world leaders committed to reducing global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is accountable for nearly half of all NCD deaths making it the world’s number one killer. World Heart Day is, therefore, the perfect platform for the CVD community to unite in the fight against CVD and reduce the global disease burden.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death and disability in the world today: over 17.5 million people die from cardiovascular disease every year.
Most of the major cardiovascular disease risk factors can be controlled. Here are a few tips on how to control those risk factors and protect your heart:
30 minutes of activity a day can help prevent heart attack and stroke. Try to make exercise a regular part of your life: use the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Being active is also a great way to relieve stress and control your weight, which are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Stop smoking and protect yourself from tobacco
If you stop smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time. Avoid smoke-filled environments: exposure to second-hand smoke significantly increases the risk of heart attack.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of whole grain products, lean meat, fish, peas, beans, lentils, and foods low in saturated fats. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt. Try to avoid drinking alcohol or if you do drink, make sure it is in moderation. Drink lots of water!
Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping a healthy weight and limiting your salt intake will help to control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A good way to keep track of a healthy weight is to use BMI (Body-Mass Index) which is a measure of how much body fat is on a person based on their height or weight. To calculate your BMI, you divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height squared (in meters). A healthy adult should keep his or her BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m².
Know your numbers
Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked regularly. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol and glucose levels can also place you at greater risk. Try our heart age calculator to see how healthy your heart is before seeking further consultation with your doctor.
Know the warning signs
Know the warning signs: the sooner assistance is sought, the greater the chances of a full recovery. Learn about CPR and get certified from your local organization so that you are able to help out in case someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest.
Carefully take your medication
Take the medication that your doctor has prescribed and make sure you stick to your regiment.
Keep track of your achievements and progress: feel proud about what you do for your own, and your family’s health.
To Your Health and Safety,
Faisal Javed Mir & First Aid to Save a Life
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