World Heart Day is a global campaign aimed at increasing awareness of health amongst the general public and celebrated on 29th September very year. The message for World Heart Day 2022 is “Use Heart for every Heart”.
World Heart Day is an opportunity for everyone to stop and consider how best to use heart for humanity, for nature, and for you. Controlling cardiovascular disease (CVD) is something that matters to every beating heart.
Use Heart means to think differently. To make the right decisions.To act with courage.To help others.To engage with this important cause. The heart is the only organ you can hear and feel. It is the first and last sign of life. It is one of the few things with the potential to unite all of us as people.
For Every Heart involves the use of “FOR” and swings the focus from the actions themselves to the beneficiaries of the actions, allowing for wider application of the campaign while also making it more personal. The World Heart Day message needs to reach as many individuals as possible to help achieve cardiovascular health for every heart.
The prevalence of CKD is increasing and currently it is believed that 15-20 out of every 100 people have some stage of CKD. It is also now emerging as the 5th leading cause of death worldwide e. g. Kidney disease is a silent killer and heart disease is amongst the commonest causes of death in these patients.
Data from the registry of Indian Society of Nephrology shows that Diabetes and Hypertension are the leading causes of both Heart Disease as well as CKD. Both diabetes and hypertension are lifestyle diseases and are to a large extent preventable. Studies have shown that patients with weaker kidneys are at greater risk of heart disease: the weaker the kidneys the greater the risk! Hence any measures that can protect or improve your kidney function can lower the risk of heart disease. Hence the message “”Protect Your Kidneys to Save your Heart “
Studies have shown that a persistent and ongoing knowledge gap exists about Heart disease as well as CKD and the close connection between the two. Most of these patients who have heart attack do not even know that they have underlying CKD. This has been compounded by the unbridled proliferation of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
The COVID pandemic resulting in lockdowns has further accelerated the growth of the social media. The commercial nature of these platforms often results in widespread proliferation of content that is not proven to be true by scientific methodology. The only measure of success in social media is the popularity of the post and the number of followers both of which can be manipulated by commercial tools like boosting. A lot of this information would not hold water if tested by standard scientific methodology.
The poorly informed public and patients find it challenging to access scientifically authentic and validated information. This is especially true for developing countries like India where there is a proliferation of quacks and untested therapies and regulatory mechanism are lax. A significant number of them often land up in the hands of these quacks loosing precious time as well as money.
The widening knowledge gap is hampering the fight against kidney disease, and increasing the inherent associated mortality.Thus bridging the knowledge gap is the key to achieve Kidney health for All and was the theme for WORLD Kidney Day 2022.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help to improve your overall health and thereby lower your risk of kidney disease and heart disease. The following healthy lifestyle choices are a great way to start:
- Don’t smoke: If you smoke, quitting now is the most important step you can take for your heart health.
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Check with your doctor to learn more about body mass index and to find out what’s right for you.
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid saturated fats and excess salt.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep hydrated, but only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Try to get 30 mins of exercise, 4 to 5 times a week. Just a half-hour of walking each day will make a big difference. Regular Yoga has also been found to be beneficial and it also acts a stress buster.
Thus an effort should be made at all levels of society to address the growing epidemic of Heart disease, Kidney disease and Bridging the Knowledge gap is the key to achieve this as “Knowledge is Power”. For more information on kidney diseases please see my YouTube channel Thekidneyklinic.
(The Author is President Elect, India Society of Nephrology, Principal Director, Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Fortis Gp of Hospitals, NCR)