The World Heart Foundation organizes World Heart Day, an international campaign held on September 29 to inform people about cardiovascular diseases, which are the biggest cause of death. The day promotes preventative measures to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
What happens on World Heart Day?
Governments and non-government organizations celebrate and promote World Heart Day with activities such as fun runs, public talks, concerts, and sporting events. The World Heart Federation organizes awareness events in more than 100 countries. They include:
- Health checks.
- Sports events, including walks, runs and fitness sessions.
- Public talks and science forums
- Stage shows and concerts.
These activities are done in partnership with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health.
World Heart Day is a global observance but it is not a public holiday.
About World Heart Day
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide and this is projected to remain so, according to WHO. About 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2005, representing 30 percent of all global deaths. Risk factors that may lead to heart disease and stroke include:
- Raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables.
Together with organizations such as WHO, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors – which are tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity – are controlled. World Heart Day started in 1999 and is held on the last Sunday of September every year.
What is congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently.
What are the causes of CHF, and am I at risk?
CHF may result from other health conditions that directly affect your cardiovascular system. This is why it’s important to get annual checkups to lower your risk for heart health problems, including high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary artery disease, and valve conditions.
When your blood pressure is higher than normal, it may lead to CHF. Hypertension has many different causes. Among them is the narrowing of your arteries, which makes it harder for your blood to flow through them.
2. Coronary artery disease
Cholesterol and other types of fatty substances can block the coronary arteries, which are the small arteries that supply blood to the heart. This causes the arteries to become narrow. Narrower coronary arteries restrict your blood flow and can lead to damage in your arteries.
3. Valve conditions
Your heart valves regulate blood flow through your heart by opening and closing to let blood in and out of the chambers. Valves that don’t open and close correctly may force your ventricles to work harder to pump blood. This can be a result of a heart infection or defect.
4. Other conditions
While heart-related diseases can lead to CHF, there are other seemingly unrelated conditions that may increase your risk, too. These include diabetes, thyroid disease, and obesity. Severe infections and allergic reactions may also contribute to CHF.
How to recognize heart failure?
Some are easy to confuse with normal aging or other diseases. The more advanced the heart failure is, symptoms are also more likely to get worse. The following are few common ways to get indications from the heart –
1. Shortness of breath –
if you find it hard to breathe after climbing a few stairs, or feel trouble even while sitting still.
2. Sleep problems –
due to breathlessness, trouble nodding off to sleep or getting up suddenly in the middle of the night gasping for air.
3. Coughing –
dry cough while sleeping and phlegm with pinkish tint while lying down.
4. Fatigue –
failure of heart make you feel won out.
5. Swelling –
as the hear t is no more able to move blood through the body it gets built up in certain parts leading to swelling.
6. Loss of appetite –
Feeling of hunger is lost and is pronounced with advanced stage.
7. Frequent urinations –
Visiting bathroom in the middle of the night more
8. Heart palpitation –
feeling of racing heart beat as if heart is beating too fast. To compensate for the amount of blood pumped, it tries to beat faster.
Classification of Heart Failure
The following is a classification for heart failure devised by the New York Heart Association (NYHA). It is important to be familiar with this classification, because it may be referred to during the course of your care.
Classification of heart failure symptoms
People whose physical activity is not limited. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.
People who have some limitation on physical activity. They are comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.
People who have a marked limitation on physical activity. They are comfortable at rest, but less-than-ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.
People who are unable to carry on any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms may be present even at rest. If any physical activity is done, discomfort increases.
World Heart Day was created to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death. If you have some suggestions on this world heart day, share with us through the comment box.