The goal for World Heart Day 2021 is to use the power of digital health to increase global awareness, prevention, and management of CVD, therefore, it is telehealth that is considered to be the future, or rather the present of healthcare.
“Use Heart To Connect.”
As the world fights COVID-19, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is still the world’s leading cause of death, accounting for 18.6 million deaths per year. Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity are among the many causes, as is air pollution.
This World Heart Day, the Federation chose the theme, “Use Heart to Connect” and as such based their purpose for 2021 on 3 main pillars: Equity, Prevention and Community.
This blog post will delve into the theme for 2021, provide you with more facts regarding CVD and then share insights that we as a company managed to collect from our employees.
“Use Heart to Connect” – How?
As COVID-19 extends its stay well into 2021 and most likely into the first half of 2022, the young, old, healthy and sick are all being affected.
The healthcare crisis that we have all been experiencing has highlighted the urgent need to find new and innovative ways to connect people to heart health, particularly in low-resource areas and communities.
Hence, the goal for World Heart Day 2021 is to use the power of digital health to increase global awareness, prevention, and management of CVD, therefore, it is telehealth that is considered to be the future, or rather the present of healthcare.
The theme thus revolves around connecting with our own hearts, ensuring that we are fueling and nurturing them as best we can, and utilizing the power of digital to connect every heart, everywhere.
As mentioned previously, this World Heart Day is based on three pillars: Equity, Prevention and Community.
- Equity: Although the world isn’t based on Equity, and many organizations and individuals are battling for equity in terms of genderism and racism, healthcare needs to disregard any such differences in individuals. Not all hearts are created equal. But they ought to be… and digital health can assist in redressing the balance
Isolated hearts are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases as they are not able to connect with doctors or health workers, and this is mainly due to the current digital divide within our communities, but in times like this it is crucial to realize that technology and data will assist us in closing the gap quickly. Thereby, enabling and empowering everyone, everywhere – young and old, men and women, children and adults, patients, community health workers, and doctors – to use digital tools for better heart-related disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Prevention: It is crucial despite your history of Cardiovascular Diseases that you take the necessary precautions such as eating a healthy diet, saying no to tobacco and getting plenty of exercises.
Although COVID-19 has burdened all healthcare systems it is crucial that you not disregard your treatment plans and check-ups, especially if you have been diagnosed with heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or heart diseases.
- Community: You aren’t alone. There are 520 million people in the world who have been diagnosed with some type of CVD, and many of them have been instructed by governments or other regulatory bodies, to stay home and sheltered. Although this is true to some extent, many are avoiding medical appointments with this instruction in mind. They began isolating themselves from friends and family and even physical exercise has seen a decline. But this should not be the case. By harnessing the powers of technology, individuals should be able to connect with their doctors, family and friends virtually. They should be able to obtain medications through online ordering platforms and they should be able to focus on physical exercises at home. If one is more of a group exercise person, facilities such as Zoom groups where a group of people work out, perform Yoga or other forms of physical exercises are available.
What is a Cardiovascular Disease?
Our hearts are the size of our fists and start beating 3 weeks into being conceived, well before any other organ. Therefore, in an average person’s lifetime, it would have been beaten a couple of billion times. Thereby winning the title of the strongest muscle in the body. However, it needs a lot of care to remain that way, and it becomes vulnerable to certain factors such as smoking, having an unhealthy diet or constant exposure to stress factors.
CVD is a group of diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels (veins and arteries). Every year, more people die from CVD than from any other cause: over 18.6 million. 85 per cent of these deaths are caused by coronary heart disease (e.g., heart attacks) and cerebrovascular disease (e.g., strokes), and they primarily affect low- and middle-income countries.
Symptoms of Cardiovascular Diseases
- Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort
- Pain, weakness or numbness in your legs and/or arms
- Pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, shoulder, jaw and back
- Shortness of breath
- Easily tiring during exercise or activity
- Changes in your heart rhythm
- Very fast or slow heartbeat, palpitations or fluttering in your chest
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
- Weakness or fatigue
- Swelling of the hands, legs, ankles or feet
- Skin rashes or unusual spots
- Dry or persistent cough
Men’s heart attack symptoms include severe chest pain, pain in the left arm or jaw, and difficulty breathing.
Women, on the other hand, experience more widespread pains that spread to the shoulders, neck, arms, abdomen, and back. Women may experience pain that is more akin to indigestion, and the pain may be intermittent. There may be no pain, but there may be unexplained anxiety, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, and cold sweating.
What can you do to lower your risk of CVDs?
According to the World Health Organization, up to 80% of all heart attacks and strokes are avoidable. The majority of CVD deaths are caused by risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or diabetes, which can be prevented or controlled to a large extent by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. It is also critical to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
“Use Heart To Connect” – The Cloud Solutions International Survey
As a company that is based in healthcare through technology, we believe we play a key role in the accessibility and quality of healthcare in many ways, and as such, we wanted to look deeper – deeper into what our employees know about CardioVascular diseases and their tips to lead a healthier lifestyle.
This study consisted of a higher percentage of women and individuals who were Under the age of 30 (Women 61.5% and Under 30-year-olds 69.2%). However, when asked about their knowledge about CVDs, at least 62% had extensive knowledge. This then began to bring up questions on whether these individuals, who were mostly Under 30, had been diagnosed with CVD or had a family member diagnosed with CVD. Therefore, we asked that very question, only to find out that less than 25% of the respondents were either directly or indirectly affected.
This meant that although individuals were not directly or indirectly affected by it, they did their research and knew the basics of Cardiovascular Diseases. Furthermore, we saw individuals following healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, drinking a lot of water, avoiding smoking and drinking and instilling a positive mindset and attitude.
Furthermore, given that mental health is such a taboo topic in Sri Lanka, many fail to express just how much their diagnoses affect their mental health. 92% of our employees who were either diagnosed with a CVD or had a family member be diagnosed, expressed issues in mental health, almost immediately after receiving the diagnosis.
Thus, allowing us to make the conclusion that we need to do more to support individuals suffering from CVDs, there needs to be more done in order to make them feel connected and for them to receive suitable treatment in these very trying times. As a socially responsible healthcare organization, we choose to repeatedly raise awareness on this issue – both internally and externally, thereby embodying this year’s theme. It is now your chance to, Use Heart To Connect!
- World Heart Federation: https://world-heart-federation.org/
- Heart Disease and Mental Health Disorders: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/mentalhealth.htm
- Your heart and you: How to keep your heart happy and healthy: https://youtu.be/l6yZB4glEns