The National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCTC) has urged the public to adhere to basic healthy lifestyles such as eating and drinking well, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and exercising regularly.
The Director of the NCTC, Dr Lawrence Agyeman Sereboe, said everybody was vulnerable when it came to heart diseases, the leading cause of death in Ghana and globally.
He added that 80 per cent of all deaths caused by heart-related conditions were preventable through the observance of healthy lifestyles, saying it was unfortunate that heart-related diseases amounted to 60 per cent of all deaths in the country.
Launching the 2019 World Heart Day in Accra yesterday, Dr Sereboe said cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) were strangely the world’s number one killer, even though by making just a few small changes to lifestyles, society could reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
“As part of our mission to ensure ‘heart health equity for all’, the World Heart Federation aims to create a global community of heart heroes — people from all walks of life who will act to live longer, better by making a promise.
“To our families, to cook and eat more healthily; to our children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop, among other promises,” he said.
Dr Sereboe said keeping a population with healthy hearts was critical and a shared responsibility, and advised that everyone took care of their hearts and resolved to help others to do same.
He also called for a behavioural change in diet and physical activity to prevent diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and abnormal cholesterol levels, which, he said, were the commonest of the CVDs in Ghana.
The heart surgeon advised the public against bad eating habits such as excessive intake of fatty foods, sugar and salt, stressing that these could pose a danger to their hearts.
Dr Sereboe mentioned particularly tobacco use, obesity and physical inactivity as major factors of heart diseases, saying these conditions “are on a high trend in the country”.
World Heart Day
In 1999, the World Heart Federation (WHF), in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO), established the World Heart Day as an annual event.
It is marked globally on every September 29, and activities lined up to precede the local commemoration include health walks, free medical screenings and raising public awareness of heart diseases.
The annual event is used as a platform to create awareness of cardiovascular diseases and to promote various preventive steps of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
Organisers of the local event include the Ghana Heart Foundation, the Ghana Health Service, the WHO and the WHF.
It will focus on encouraging people to look after their hearts and those of their loved ones.