The World Heart Foundation launched World Heart Day in the year 2000. Subsequently, the world celebrates heart health every year on 29th September. The purpose is to draw attention to cardiac illnesses and the associated health issues.
Use Heart To Connect and Beat Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in 18.6 million deaths a year. CVD has many causes: smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, air pollution, and less common conditions such as Chagas disease and cardiac amyloidosis, all make a list.
Likewise, cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of mortality in Jamaica. CVD accounts for approximately 30 per cent of deaths annually. The Ministry of Health and Wellness also reports that 51 per cent of COVID-19 casualties had pre-existing cardiovascular disease. People living with CVD have been more at risk of developing severe forms of the COVID-19 virus. Reportedly, many have been afraid to attend routine and emergency appointments, and as a result, have become isolated from friends and family.
In commemorating WHD 2021, The Heart Foundation of Jamaica ‘HFJ’ is leading the charge. Their campaign is under the global “Use Heart to Connect” theme. The HFJ has subsequently partnered with community health centres across the island to provide heart-screening services through their island-wide mobile screening programme.
Additionally, as part of this year’s WHD celebration, the HFJ held a lighting ceremony on 23rd September. The HFJ placed the Usain Bolt statue at the National Stadium in Kingston under the red spotlight. Lighting the Usain Bolt statue is a powerful visual symbol of the fight against cardiovascular disease and the causative premature mortality. This symbolic lighting also allows HFJ the platform to reverberate the need for all of us to participate in lifestyle practices that will help maintain a healthy heart.
Mrs Deborah Chen, Executive Director at HFJ, said, “Everyone, but especially those over the age of 50-years who are living with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or those with a family history of these conditions, should invest in regular screenings.” Assessment should include ECG, blood pressure check, cholesterol check and blood sugar check.
Use your knowledge, compassion and influence to connect a heart. Make sure you, your loved ones and your community have the best chance to live heart-healthy lives. USE HEART TO CONNECT.