‘Open cardiology’, the cardiovascular prevention initiative promoted by the Foundation for Your Heart of Italian hospital cardiologists Anmco, returns from 12 to 19 February to raise awareness of the importance of anticipating heart disease, the first killer in Italy. The 17th edition of the campaign is launched on Valentine’s Day and provides 1,600 hours of free telephone advice from 700 Anmco specialists. For one week, from 10 to 12 and from 14 to 16, citizens will be able to call the toll-free number 800 05 22 33 and ask questions which will be answered by the experts of the structures participating in the initiative (the list of hospitals and the activities offered is available online at www.periltuocuore.it). The campaign will also be active on social networks with the hashtags #iltempodelcuore and #opencardiology.
By 2030 – the promoters recall – 24 million deaths per year are expected in the world from cardiovascular causes, which remain the main cause of death in our country, being responsible for 44% of all deaths, with a higher than average prevalence European Union (7,499 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) also due to the particularly high average age of our population. Survivors of a heart attack become chronically ill as the disease affects quality of life. In Italy, according to Istat data, the prevalence of citizens suffering from cardiovascular disability is equal to 4.4 per thousand and 23.5% of Italian pharmaceutical expenditure is destined for drugs for the cardiovascular system. It is therefore essential to reduce cardiovascular risk and most cardiovascular events can be avoided through prevention, underlines the Foundation for your heart which has been actively engaged in cardiovascular research and prevention for over 20 years.
“Cardiovascular diseases hold a sad record which must lead all of us to make a significant effort through prevention which is the main weapon to fight them – says Domenico Gabrielli, president of the Foundation for your heart of the National Association of hospital cardiologists and director of Cardiology at San Camillo Hospital in Rome – These diseases are largely preventable, as they recognize, alongside non-modifiable risk factors (age, gender and family history), also modifiable factors related to behaviors and lifestyles (smoking, alcohol, incorrect diet and sedentary lifestyle) often in turn the cause of diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. The setting of a healthy lifestyle should be anticipated starting from childhood and adolescence, hence the importance of awareness campaigns already at the primary school level.
“The primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases – continues Gabrielli – is based not only on the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyles, on the early identification and adequate management of any clinical conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, also through the appropriate therapies, where it is not sufficient to change lifestyles. We cardiologists divide patients by risk categories. The risk is the probability that the patient will experience an adverse cardiovascular event (heart attack, stroke, in some cases sudden death) in relation to its general clinical characteristics. There are subjects at very high, high, moderate and lower risk. The intervention must be personalized for each one.
“Prevention – the specialist points out – becomes even more crucial after the recent pandemic, since Covid-19 has acted on heart diseases at different levels: in people affected by the virus it has generated inflammation of the myocardium and pericardium, ischemic heart disease, cerebral stroke , diseases of a thromboembolic nature; it has also contributed to delaying the diagnosis, complicating the management and the prevention aspect of cardiovascular diseases and reducing hospitalizations. In particular, in subjects affected by Covid there was an increase of 20-25 % of all cardiovascular diseases. In my opinion, therefore, the Open Cardiologies initiative truly represents a precious opportunity for the hearts of all Italians”.
“Anmco, with over 5,600 members, has been engaged for over 50 years in the area to enhance the work of its cardiologists, the flagship of Italian medicine on the international scene – declares Furio Colivicchi, national president of Anmco and director of Cardiology at the ‘San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome – Cardiovascular prevention lengthens life and we should always, even when we are well, consult our general practitioner, keep risk factors under control (cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking) and practice a regular physical exercise, even mild exercise. Today we have very powerful and effective weapons available to solve some problems, guarantee survival and a better quality of life for our patients. Cardiovascular prevention is therefore very important and must be implemented as early as possible. Open cardiology is a great opportunity that Anmco cardiologists wish to offer free to all citizens those who want it and represents a cornerstone of cardiovascular prevention that our association has been carrying out for over 17 years”.
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