We all have the power to improve our own heart health. Whether we choose to eat healthier, exercise, quit smoking, or reduce our alcohol consumption, a small change can make a big impact on our cardiovascular health. However, on World Heart Day 2018, the World Heart Federation is asking us to think beyond ourselves and consider how we can contribute to the heart health of our family, friends, neighbors, and others around the world.
Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death worldwide. Together, these illnesses account for one-third of all deaths, with roughly 80% of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. World Heart Day seeks to change these troubling statistics by raising awareness of actions individuals and communities can take to improve their heart health. This year’s theme — “My Heart, Your Heart” — focuses on the power each of us has to reduce not only our own CVD risk, but the burden of heart disease and stroke in our families, communities and, ultimately, the world.
At HVO, we invest year-round in the collective fight against CVD by investing in the health workforce in resource-scarce countries. From teaching patients about the risk factors for CVD to performing lifesaving cardiac surgery — health workers play a vital role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease and stroke. By increasing access to education and professional development opportunities for health workers in low-resource countries, we ensure those health workers have the tools they need to provide the best possible care to their communities.
Whether you are you a health provider eager to share your knowledge with your colleagues overseas, or a concerned individual wishing to support health workers in resource-scarce countries, we hope you will consider acting with HVO on World Heart Day and join us in reducing the global burden of CVD. Together, we can improve the availability of cardiovascular care — for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and communities across the globe!