World Heart Day 2023: World Heart Day is a global initiative that aims to raise awareness and promote action on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, CVDs account for nearly 18 million deaths every year, or one-third of all deaths globally. Moreover, CVDs affect not only the health but also the well-being and productivity of individuals, families, and communities.
On September 29th, 2023, World Heart Day will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the theme “Use Heart, Know Heart”. This theme emphasizes the importance of knowing our hearts first, before we can love and protect them. It also encourages us to use our hearts to make positive changes in our lifestyles, environments, and health systems, to prevent and control CVDs.
In this article, we will explore the meaning and significance of this theme, as well as some of the activities and events that will take place on World Heart Day 2023. We will also provide you with some tips and resources on how to use heart and know heart for yourself and your loved ones.
What does “Use Heart, Know Heart” mean?
The theme of World Heart Day 2023 is inspired by the visual language of emojis, which are widely used in modern communication, especially among younger generations. Emojis can convey emotions, expressions, and messages in a simple and universal way, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers.
The heart emoji is one of the most popular and versatile emojis, representing love, affection, gratitude, sympathy, and more. It can also symbolize the physical organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies, keeping us alive and healthy.
The theme “Use Heart, Know Heart” is open-ended and flexible, allowing different interpretations and applications. It can mean different things to different people, depending on their context and perspective. Here are some possible meanings of this theme:
- Use heart to know heart: This means that we need to use our hearts to listen to our bodies and understand our health status. We need to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that our hearts may be sending us, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or fatigue. We also need to use our hearts to seek medical advice and care when needed, and follow the recommendations of our healthcare providers.
- Use heart to care for your heart: This means that we need to use our hearts to love ourselves and take care of our hearts. We need to adopt healthy habits that can reduce our risk of CVDs, such as eating well, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, managing stress, and moderating alcohol consumption. We also need to use our hearts to monitor our blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body weight regularly.
- Use heart to protect others’ hearts: This means that we need to use our hearts to show compassion and support for others who may be affected by CVDs. We need to help them access quality healthcare services and medications when needed. We also need to encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles and join them in their journey. We also need to use our hearts to advocate for policies and initiatives that can create a heart-healthy environment for everyone.
- Use heart to change the world: This means that we need to use our hearts to inspire action and innovation for a better future. We need to use our hearts to raise awareness about CVDs and their prevention among our families, friends, colleagues, and communities. We also need to use our hearts to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as governments, NGOs, media, academia, industry, etc., to advance research, education, prevention, and treatment of CVDs.
What are some of the activities and events on World Heart Day 2023?
World Heart Day 2023 will be celebrated with various activities and events across the world, involving different sectors and audiences. Some of these activities and events are:
- Poster campaign: The World Heart Federation (WHF), the organizer of World Heart Day, has created a social post and poster builder tool that allows anyone to create their own poster in their own language using the theme “Use Heart, Know Heart”. The posters can be shared on social media platforms using the hashtag #WorldHeartDay or printed out and displayed in public places.
- World Heart Day Challenge: The WHF has also launched a World Heart Day Challenge, which invites people to share their stories of how they use heart and know heart on social media using the hashtag #WorldHeartDayChallenge. The challenge aims to showcase the diversity of experiences and perspectives on heart health around the world.
- Landmark lighting: The WHF has partnered with several iconic landmarks around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, to light up in red on World Heart Day 2023. The landmark lighting is a symbolic gesture to show solidarity and support for the global heart community.
- Educational seminars and workshops: Various organizations and institutions, such as hospitals, schools, universities, etc., will organize educational seminars and workshops on World Heart Day 2023, to inform and educate their audiences about CVDs and their prevention. The seminars and workshops will cover topics such as the risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and management of CVDs, as well as the importance of a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups.
- Fitness challenges and events: Various fitness clubs, gyms, sports associations, etc., will organize fitness challenges and events on World Heart Day 2023, to encourage and motivate their participants to exercise and stay active. The fitness challenges and events will include activities such as running, cycling, yoga, aerobics, etc., that can improve cardiovascular health and fitness.
- Fundraising campaigns: Various charities and foundations, such as the American Heart Association or the British Heart Foundation, will launch fundraising campaigns on World Heart Day 2023, to raise funds for improving cardiovascular care and research. The fundraising campaigns will include activities such as online donations, auctions, raffles, etc., that can generate revenue and awareness for the cause.
How to use heart and know heart for yourself and your loved ones?
World Heart Day 2023 is a great opportunity to use heart and know heart for yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips and resources on how to do so:
- Know your numbers: One of the first steps to know your heart is to know your numbers. This means knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI), which are key indicators of your cardiovascular health. You can measure these numbers at home using a blood pressure monitor, a glucose meter, a cholesterol test kit, or a weighing scale. You can also visit your doctor or a nearby clinic for a professional check-up. You should aim to keep your numbers within the recommended ranges, which are:
- Blood pressure: less than 120/80 mmHg
- Cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL
- Blood sugar: less than 100 mg/dL (fasting) or less than 140 mg/dL (postprandial)
- BMI: between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2
- Eat well: One of the best ways to use heart to care for your heart is to eat well. This means eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You should also limit your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, salt, sugar, and processed foods. Some of the dietary guidelines that can help you eat well are:
- Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Choose whole grains over refined grains
- Opt for lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds as sources of protein
- Use olive oil, canola oil, or other vegetable oils instead of butter or ghee
- Avoid fried foods, baked goods, fast foods, and snacks that contain trans fats
- Reduce your salt intake to less than 5 grams per day
- Limit your sugar intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day
- Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks
- Exercise regularly: Another way to use heart to protect your heart is to exercise regularly. This means engaging in physical activity that can improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Some of the examples of aerobic exercise are:
- Walking briskly
- Jogging or running
- Cycling or swimming
- Dancing or aerobics
You should also do some strength training exercises at least twice a week, which can help you build muscle mass and bone density. Some of the examples of strength training exercises are:
- Lifting weights or using resistance bands - Doing push-ups or pull-ups - Doing squats or lunges
You should also do some flexibility exercises at least three times a week, which can help you improve your range of motion and prevent injuries. Some of the examples of flexibility exercises are:
- Stretching your muscles before and after exercise - Doing yoga or pilates - Doing tai chi or qigong
- Quit smoking: One of the most important ways to use heart to change the world is to quit smoking. Smoking is one of the major risk factors for CVDs, as it damages the lining of your arteries, increases your blood pressure, reduces your oxygen supply, and triggers blood clotting. Quitting smoking can significantly lower your risk of CVDs, as well as other diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes. Quitting smoking can also improve your appearance, your sense of smell and taste, your breathing, and your energy levels. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is possible with the right support and motivation. Some of the tips and resources that can help you quit smoking are:
- Set a quit date and stick to it
- Tell your family, friends, and colleagues that you are quitting and ask for their support
- Avoid triggers and temptations that may make you want to smoke, such as stress, alcohol, or certain places or people
- Use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches, gums, lozenges, or inhalers, to ease your withdrawal symptoms and cravings
- Consult your doctor or a counselor for advice and guidance on quitting smoking
- Join a quit-smoking program or a support group, either online or offline, to share your experiences and challenges with other quitters
- Reward yourself for your achievements and milestones, such as saving money, improving your health, or reaching a certain number of smoke-free days
- Manage stress: Another way to use heart to know heart is to manage stress. Stress is a normal and inevitable part of life, but it can also have negative effects on your cardiovascular health. Stress can increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, as well as trigger inflammation and oxidative stress in your body. Stress can also affect your mental and emotional health, causing anxiety, depression, anger, or frustration. Managing stress can help you cope with the challenges and demands of life, as well as improve your heart health and well-being. Some of the tips and resources that can help you manage stress are:
- Identify the sources and signs of stress in your life and try to eliminate or reduce them
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation
- Engage in hobbies and activities that make you happy and relaxed, such as reading, listening to music, gardening, or painting
- Maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life, and focus on the things that you can control and change
- Seek social support from your family, friends, or community, and talk to them about your feelings and problems
- Seek professional help from a therapist or a counselor if you feel overwhelmed or depressed by stress
World Heart Day 2023 is a special occasion to celebrate the power and importance of our hearts. It is also a reminder to use heart and know heart for ourselves and our loved ones. By using heart and knowing heart, we can prevent and control CVDs, which are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. We can also improve our quality of life and happiness.
If you are interested in learning more about World Heart Day 2023, you can visit the official website of the World Heart Federation, where you can find more information, resources, and tools on how to use heart and know heart. You can also join the global conversation on social media using the hashtags #WorldHeartDay, #WorldHeartDayChallenge, and #UseHeartKnowHeart.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful and informative. If you did, please share it with your friends and family, and let us know your feedback in the comments section below. Also, stay tuned for more articles on World Heart Day 2023, as we will bring you all the latest news and updates on this important event. Thank you for reading!