This year the message of World Heart Day, next September 29th, promoted in Italy by the Italian Foundation for the Heart, national member of the World Heart Federation, will be ‘For the heart, with the heart, for you’. The message is intended to be an invitation to the population to adopt all those behaviors which, by reducing risk factors, allow one to lead a healthy lifestyle, which helps prevent the onset or worsening of cardiovascular diseases. “A clear message to focus attention on what is still the leading cause of death in the world (more than 20 million deaths in 2021), considering that 80% of deaths from cardiovascular causes are preventable thanks to prevention and treatment adequate”, underlines the Foundation.
Italian Heart Foundation, in collaboration with Iqvia and with the non-conditioning contribution of Armolipid, is analyzing the results of a fact-finding survey conducted with the aim of discovering how aware the Italian population is of this risk. “The quantitative survey – explains the Foundation – was based on 3000 web interviews with a representative sample of the Italian population for the main socio-demographic and geographical parameters, divided by sex, age group, education, geographical area of residence, level of cardiovascular risk and family history of cardiovascular diseases. Informational/cognitive aspects (knowledge/knowing what to do), emotional aspects (experiential experiences, beliefs/fears) and relational aspects (support, monitoring, communication with doctors) were investigated”.
“Knowing the population’s real awareness of cardiovascular risk will help us better understand how to perfect the awareness process we conduct on the topic to adopt the most suitable strategies. The added value that the results of this investigation will provide us – specifies Emanuela Folco, president of the Italian Heart Foundation – is in the ability to provide us with an in-depth understanding of citizens’ prevention behaviours, of the existing barriers and of the possible levers that we can use to educate the population on the importance of cardiovascular prevention”.
Preventing the onset of pathologies: healthy behaviors. “Cardiovascular diseases can be caused not only by genetic diseases such as familial hypercholesterolemia or rare diseases such as cardiac amyloidosis, but also by factors attributable to unhealthy lifestyles and by very common pathologies such as hypercholesterolemia, arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus and obesity”, underlines the Foundation. “Healthy behaviors such as not smoking, following the Mediterranean diet avoiding ultra-processed foods, carrying out regular, even if moderate, physical activity, limiting the consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks and adopting useful strategies for managing daily stress – continues Folco – are all effective actions that help us take care of our health and our heart in particular”.
Preventing the worsening of pathologies: behaviors and adequate care. Another very important message of World Heart Day 2023 conveyed by the Italian Heart Foundation is addressed to those who already suffer from a cardiovascular disease and who can do a lot to protect and defend their heart and their quality of life. “Living well with a cardiovascular disease is now more possible than ever if, in addition to correct prevention behavior, it is associated with adequate treatment. It is possible because many therapies are available that can be personalized to suit the patient, even if it is essential that they are followed carefully. Scrupulously following the instructions received – underlines Paolo Magni, coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Heart Foundation and professor at the University of Milan – means not interrupting or modifying the prescribed therapies and, in cases of doubt or difficulty to maintain the so-called therapeutic adherence, contact your doctor with confidence who will be able to direct the treatment path appropriately”.
The Italian alliance for cardio-cerebrovascular diseases. In the context of initiatives to improve the management of cardiovascular diseases in Italy, the Foundation recently obtained the support of the Executive Committee of the Italian Alliance for Cardio-Cerebrovascular Diseases of the Ministry of Health and is leading a Working Group dedicated to the topic of therapeutic adherence. “The relational aspect between doctor and patient is confirmed to be of fundamental importance and therefore – specifies Folco – promoting the establishment of a therapeutic alliance which is certainly one of the aspects that can contribute to increasing adherence to therapies with the consequent improvement of clinical outcome”. The Italian Heart Foundation also participates in the activities of two other working groups of the Italian Alliance for cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, one on the assessment of individual cardiovascular risk, the other on the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular diseases.
During the months of September and October 2023 there are many free initiatives open to the public which are organized by patient associations and hospital centers to raise awareness among citizens about taking care of their hearts. On these occasions, the information booklet drawn up by the Italian Heart Foundation will be distributed with advice to put into practice to take care of your heart and your life. The list of initiatives open to citizens throughout Italy is available www.fondazionecuore.it, on the Fondazioneperilcuore Facebook page and on the website of the National Coordination of Heart Associations (Conacuore) www.conacuore.it.
“This year too we confirm our commitment to raising citizens’ awareness of the cornerstones of cardiovascular health by contributing to the organization of local activities – concludes Giuseppe Ciancamerla, president of Conacuore – such as the numerous events organized by patient associations and hospital centers throughout the National territory”.