The global community is observing today as World Heart Day. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Creating Heart-Healthy Environments.” At the launch of the 2015 edition of the World Heart Day in Accra a fortnight ago, there was a call on Ghanaians to make healthy heart choices at all times.
A Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kow Entsua-Mensah, indicated that making a few changes at home could help reduce the risk of heart diseases and strokes. According to Dr. Entsua-Mensah, “things like stocking up on healthy food options, banning smoking from the home, learning more about ones family’s risk of cardiovascular diseases and understanding the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke could reduce the risk of heart disease.”
It is important to stress that banning smoking at home alone is not enough. The ban in all public places should be given the needed attention as part of effort to check the risk of heart attack or stroke. In this regard, the Ministry of Health is being urged to as a matter of public interest, seriously lobby Parliament to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) on the ban on smoking in public places.
We need to appreciate the fact that the environments in which we live, work, and play can have huge effect on our ability to make the right choices for the health of the heart. There is therefore the need to encourage public and private organisations, educational institutions as well as health facilities to ensure that their environments promote healthy heart choices.
This can be done by saying no to smoking, encouraging cycling to work, school and market and taking the stairs instead of lifts. Let us also patronise healthy food and reduce strain and stress. It is important to accept the fact that physical inactivity could also lead to unhealthy weight gain, diabetes, and a rise in blood pressure.
As such, there is the urgent need for everyone to get more active in activities that will ensure healthy hearts. On the occasion of the 2015 World Heart Day, we need to show gratitude to all Cardiothoracic Surgeons at National Cardiothoracic Centre at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, their supporting staff in Ghana and their counterparts around the globe for their role in ensuring that people live with healthy hearts.
BY: DAN OSMAN MWIN, A PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTITIONER WITH THE NATIONAL AMBULANCE SERVICE.