Today is World Heart Day so the World Heart Federation (WHF) is urging people around the globe to use the power of information to transform the 1 in 10 lives that are being cut short prematurely as a direct result of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
CVD is the leading cause of death globally, claiming more than 17 million lives each year. However, at least 80% of premature deaths from CVD could be avoided.
The World Heart Day website has a wealth of information to empower individuals to get to grips with their own heart health, such as the new Heart IQ Test — a great way to see how “heart smart” you are. The WHF is also calling on policymakers and governments to disseminate information and commit to implementing reliable surveillance and monitoring systems for CVD.
This call is supported by data that shows worrying inconsistencies in how CVD is monitored around the world and notes some of the challenges faced — from lack of resources and limited workforce capacity, to lack of political will. It also offers recommendations, from strengthening national civil registration systems and sharing best practice, to helping to tackle political inertia.
“Cardiovascular disease is preventable in so many cases and that's why we're encouraging people to take action this World Heart Day,” said Johanna Ralston, chief executive, WHF. “Small changes like eating more healthily, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking can really improve your heart health. We also need more efficient and detailed monitoring so we can build a better picture of which nations are in need of support, and which we can learn from.”
At present, it is thought that only 42 countries have non-communicable disease (NCD) surveillance and monitoring systems that support reporting against the World Health Organization's targets for reducing NCDs.
Click here for more information about World Heart Day.