Tomorrow, 29 September will be World Heart Day. On this occasion, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, made the following statement:


“World Heart Day touches on one of the greatest health challenges of our time – cardiovascular disease. Each year, there are more than 6 million new such cases and over 1.8 million people die from heart disease in the EU. Even before the pandemic, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death both in the EU and globally. Today, on World Heart Day, we put this important health risk under the spotlight.


Chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer, are all important causes of death and as we have seen over the past years, they have also increased the risk of more serious COVID-19 illness. Many of the deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in older population groups with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes.


We have all gone through tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many diagnoses, screenings and treatments have been postponed or delayed. Disease prevention and promotion activities have been put on hold, and people’s mental health has suffered. In other words, an already serious situation has become even more challenging. If we want to prevent cardiovascular diseases, it is time we take care of ourselves better and bridge the health gap created by COVID.


Earlier this year, we took an important step to strengthen our work to tackle non-communicable diseases in a systematic and comprehensive way by launching our new ‘Healthier Together’ initiative. Through this initiative, we are supporting actions to improve citizens’ health and well-being, with over €150 million funding available under the EU4Health Programme to notably improve prevention of cardiovascular diseases, improve heart health, address diabetes and health determinants more generally.


Our work to address non-communicable diseases is a key complement to our actions under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and is contributing to building the foundations of a strong European Health Union.


But the most powerful tool of all is prevention by investing in our health every day and pay attention to habits that help us improve the health of our heart. On this World Heart Day my message to you is simple but crucial: listen to your heart.”


Source: Cyprus News Agency