This Saturday, Sept. 29 is World Heart Day, a global initiative created by the World Heart Federation to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.
Complementing the health policy statement released last week from the Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce which urged timely global action to save preventable death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), this year’s theme will focus on CVD prevention among women and children, and will emphasize the following:
- Women/children and CVD are not synonymous:
- CVD is commonly considered an “older persons” and a “man’s” disease
- Women underestimate their CVD risk; even though almost half of the 17.3 million annual deaths occur in women
- Children are particularly at risk, since they have little control over their environment and can be limited in choices to living heart-healthy lives
- Unless action is taken to enable heart-healthy activity, the children of today are at increased CVD risk later in life
- Women/mothers are often the “gate keeper” to their family’s health hence a key influencer in keeping their hearts healthy
The College is proud to be a partner of the World Heart Federation, and is doing its part to promote awareness of women, children and heart disease by engaging members and patients worldwide.
At Heart House, ACC staff will practice what they preach by participating in a number of wellness activities leading up to World Heart Day. ACC member Allen Taylor, MD, FACC, will be giving a special preventive heart talk to staff, and the ACC’s Helping Hearts Community Service team will be speaking at a local elementary school about preventive actions towards CV health.
On the social media front, ACC’s CardioSmart initiative has teamed up with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth® Campaign, healthfinder.gov, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts™ initiative for a special women’s heart health Twitter Chat which will take place this Friday, Sept. 29 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. During the chat, experts including CardioSmart Editor Joanne Foody, MD, FACC, will be on hand to discuss heart health, dispel myths and answer questions from participants joining the conversation from around the world. To participate, follow @CardioSmart on Twitter and use the hashtag #HeartChat. (View the archived tweets here).
The ACC and CardioSmart have also built awareness through their Facebook pages, reaching a collective audience of nearly 15,000 individuals. I encourage you to check out both ACC and CardioSmart’s Facebook pages and share the heart health facts, videos, patient tools and more. (Oh, and “like” them while you’re there!)
In addition, this Saturday the ACC and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) will be kicking off a series of health events targeted at the nation’s minority and underserved communities. The events, called Spirit of the Heart, provide a variety of activities over a three day span, including a panel discussion and a health fair open to the public where the ACC will conduct free health screenings and risk assessments. The kick off 2012 Spirit of the Heart event will be held in my hometown of Houston, Texas, where Keith Ferdinand, MD, FACC, and I will participate in the panel discussion. Future events will also be held in Dallas and Austin in October; Harlem, NY, in December; and Oakland, CA, to coincide with ACC.13 in San Francisco, so stay tuned!
With a day dedicated to the awareness of preventative steps for women and children, and with the collaborative help from all of our members, partners, and patients, it is my hope that we will be one step closer to dispelling CVD in this population.