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As the world struggles to fight COVID-19, we’ve never been more aware of the importance of our and our loved one’s health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in 18.6 million deaths a year. It has many causes: from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution, and less common conditions such as Chagas disease and cardiac amyloidosis.

For the 520 million people living with CVD, COVID-19 has been heartbreaking. They have been more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus. And many have been afraid to attend routine and emergency appointments, and have become isolated from friends and family.

This year on World Heart Day, we’re asking the world to:

USE HEART TO CONNECT

The healthcare crisis we’ve all been living through has highlighted an urgent need to find different and innovative ways to connect people to heart health, particularly in lower resource areas and communities.

Harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of CVD globally is our goal for Word Heart Day 2021. Telehealth has a huge role to play as we continue to USE HEART TO BEAT CVD.

USE HEART TO CONNECT is about using your knowledge, compassion and influence to make sure you, your loved ones and the communities you’re part of have the best chance to live heart-healthy lives. It’s about connecting with our own hearts, making sure we’re fuelling and nurturing them as best we can, and using the power of digital to connect every heart, everywhere.

THREE KEY PILLARS

1. EQUITY

Disconnected hearts are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke due to lack of access to CVD prevention, treatment and control – yet half the world’s population doesn’t have access to internet connectivity.

Technology and data will help us bridge the gap and do it fast. It is about enabling and empowering everyone, everywhere – young and old, men, women and children, patients, community healthworkers, doctors to use digital tools for better prevention, diagnosis and care of heart-related conditions.

Not all hearts are equal. But they should be… and digital health can help to redress the balance.

2. PREVENTION

Look after your heart by eating a healthy diet, saying no to tobacco and getting plenty of exercise. Digital tools, like phone apps and wearables, can really help you to get motivated and stay on track.

If you have an underlying health condition, such as heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, don’t let COVID-19 stop you from attending your regular check-ups. And never avoid calling the emergency services if you need to – it’s safe and medical professionals are there for you.

3. COMMUNITY

There are 520 million people globally living with CVD that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in the last year. Due to increased vulnerability to more severe forms of COVID-19, this population has been told they are vulnerable, at-risk and should shelter in place.

There are many consequences of this, amongst them:
Missing medical appointments
• Lack of contact with family and friends
• Reduced physical exercise

Digital networks have the power to connect patients with families, friends, other patients, doctors and carers. No one should have to feel alone, pandemic or not, so let’s use technology to overcome isolation and gaps in care.

In partnership with: