World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29th, with the goal of informing people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.5 million lives each year.1 World Heart Day also helps highlights the actions individuals can take to prevent and control CVD.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) can refer to a number of conditions including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia or heart valve problems.2 According to the Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and stroke, over 17.5 million deaths each year are caused by CVD. Ischemic heart disease (eg heart attacks) is responsible for 7.3 million of the total CVD deaths and cerebrovascular disease (eg stroke) is responsible for 6.2 million of the total CVD deaths. This makes it the number one cause of death in the world today.1
Are you at Risk?
It’s important to visit your physician and receive regular checkups. At your next appointment, ask for a few simple checks:
Blood Glucose Levels
Blood Pressure Levels
Check your Numbers (Cholesterol, weight and body mass index (BMI)
Understand the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
How Can You Participate in World Heart Day?
Make a promise! “You could promise to cook and eat more healthily, to do more exercise and encourage your children to be more active, to say no to smoking and help your loved ones to stop.
A simple promise… for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.”3
Wear Red and Raise Awareness About Heart Disease for Women
National Wear Red Day is February 2nd. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement that advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The movement also challenges people to know their risk for heart disease and act to reduce their personal risk.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk
Not only can you wear red to raise awareness but you can also take steps to reduce your own risk. The American Heart Association has developed an online tool called My Life Check. My Life Check allows you to find out your heart score and see if you’re at risk based on Life’s Simple 7:
Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!
Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. Today marks the American Heart Association’s 13th Annual National Wear Red Day, and Tria Health is joining the conversation because 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.
Prevention is the key:
There are a number of things that individuals can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.
Know your blood pressure and seek treatment if it is elevated (greater than 140 over 90)
Stop smoking – smoking doubles your risk of stroke
Know your cholesterol levels and talk to your doctor if your total cholesterol is over 200
Manage exercise/diet – exercising five times per week and maintain a diet low in salt, saturated and trans fats and cholesterol
Control alcohol use – excessive consumption of more than 2 drinks per day increases stroke risk
Control diabetes – achieve blood sugar and HgA1C goals
Identify and treat atrial fibrillation
If a stroke does occur, the most effective treatments must be initiated as soon as possible. Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke allow you to seek medical attention immediately. The American Stroke Association has developed the following acronym to help patients recognize symptoms:
F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T- Time: If you observe any of the signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Note the time when the symptoms first appear. There are FDA-approved medications that can be given within 3 hours of stroke onset that may reduce long-term disabilities associated with a stroke.
Talk to your Tria Pharmacist or other health care provider regarding what you can do to prevent and recognize. For information about Tria Health, visit www.triahealth.com.