World Heart Day, celebrated on 29 September each year, is a global information and awareness campaign on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, promoted worldwide by the World Heart Federation through a community of over 200 national organizations that together support the commitment of the medical society and foundations for the heart in over 100 countries.
Cardio-cerebro vascular diseases are by far the leading cause of death in many countries of the world. They are responsible for 17.5 million premature deaths each year and are projected to increase to 23 million by 2030. In Italy 127,000 women and 98,000 men die each year from cardio-cerebrovascular diseases and many of these deaths occur prematurely before the age of 60. Cigarette smoking, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, high blood sugar levels, poor diet, weight and abdominal circumference, sedentary lifestyle, stress and living conditions in unhealthy environments are the modifiable risk factors responsible for at least 80 % of premature deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke, which can be avoided.
World Heart Day adheres to the “25by25” campaign launched by the World Health Organization in 2012 to urge all countries of the world to put in place alliances and the best strategies to reduce, by 2025, 25% of premature deaths caused from chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diseases of the heart, blood vessels and diabetes.
In Italy, World Heart Day is coordinated by the Italian Foundation for the Heart Association, a national member of the World Heart Federation. In September and beyond there are many free events open to the public, with the distribution of information material, organized freely by hospitals, ASLs, patient associations, hospitals, public and private bodies to sensitize people to take care of their heart.