On September 29 we celebrate World Heart Day initiated 21 years ago by the World Heart Federation, of which the Polish Cardiac Society is a member. As every year, the Polish Cardiac Society actively participates in the celebration of the Feast of the Heart reminding Poles of the importance of prevention and a healthy lifestyle. Educating the public, especially now during the coronavirus outbreak, is extremely necessary, bearing in mind the dangers of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide. The main causes of heart and circulatory system diseases include improper diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, but also genetic conditions, and lipid metabolism disorders. These diseases can develop for many years without visible symptoms, which is why it is so important to perform regular preventive examinations. Regular examinations guarantee early detection of abnormalities, which gives us a chance for recovery – the sooner we start treatment, the more effective it will be.
According to the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the statistics as there was a nearly 17 percent increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease in 2020 relative to 2019, the largest increase among other chronic diseases, including oncology.
“It is necessary to speed up the admission of patients with heart diseases to hospitals, increase the number of treatments and surgeries, fully open for patients the offices in clinics and outpatient clinics. Media information campaigns are also important, encouraging patients to lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as the promotion of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 virus – without vaccination, we may again find ourselves in the situation that occurred in 2020,” points out Professor Adam Witkowski, President of the Polish Cardiac Society.
In turn, Prof. Przemysław Mitkowski, president-elect of the Polish Cardiac Society, explains that the reversal of the life-extension trend and the increase in cardiovascular mortality cannot in every case be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, but its effects are visible among patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
“The heart will not wait” – this is not only the motto of this year’s XXV International Congress of the Polish Cardiac Society, which began on 22 September and will last until 2 October, but also a challenge for all of us, so we appeal not to underestimate the symptoms, chest pains and immediately report to the hospital, and if necessary, call an ambulance. Untreated myocardial infarction is burdened with 40 percent mortality and treated with 5 percent, which is eight times less!” – adds prof. Mitkowski.
As part of this year’s World Heart Day celebrations, the Polish Cardiac Society continues its activities in the media and virtual sphere. The planned activities include educational articles published in national and regional media, interviews with experts, and activities in social media.