​​​​​​​​Image of Dr. Michael Domanski, Dr. Salim Yusuf, President and Dr. Diego Delgado
Dr. Michael Domanski, Division Head, Cardiology, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (left), Dr. Salim Yusuf, President, World Heart Federation (middle) and Dr. Diego Delgado, Cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (right) share their heart signs to draw awareness to cardiovascular disease on World Heart Day, September 29, 2015 (Photo: PMCC)​

Cardiovascular disease is the world's number one killer.

It causes more than 17 million deaths every year, estimates the World Health Organization (WHO).

Equally as striking as the lives lost to heart disease and stroke are the lives that could be saved.

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"Eighty per cent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main modifiable risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, are controlled," says the World Heart Federation, which is at the forefront of World Heart Day. Today - Sept. 29, 2015 - marks the 15th anniversary of World Heart Day.

From policy change to clinical practice, the World Heart Federation is working to advance the WHO's goal of reducing premature death from cardiovascular disease by 25 per cent within the next decade.

Advice from frontline staff

Peter Munk Cardiac Centre physicians and allied health staff who work on the forefront of this disease share their one wish for World Heart Day 2015 and one tip for heart health.

DR. THOMAS FORBES:  Vascular Surgeon

My wish: "My one wish for World Heart Day 2015 is it will increase the public education campaign to limit the ravages of cardiovascular disease through lifestyle modification, diabetes and smoking cessation.  Although the team at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is always there for those in need, my hope is that we're called on less and less."

My tip: "Be kind to your heart, it has to last a lifetime.  Exercise, eat properly, don't smoke, your heart will thank you."

DR. LUCY ROCHE:  Cardiologist specializing in Adult Congenital Heart Disease

My wish: "That every child in the world has access to an education that provides them with the literacy and opportunity to understand, learn about and impact their cardiovascular health."

My tip: "Raise our expectations and demand a medical system that really is "universal" so that the medications proven to dramatically improve cardiovascular outcomes are funded or subsidized so that everyone who needs them can afford to take them regularly as prescribed."

Image of River Plate
Celebrating World Heart Day around the globe: Members of a soccer team in Argentina hold up a banner marking World Heart Day --- on​e of six soccer teams in that country to draw awareness to heart health and among more than 200 countries around the world to mark the occasion. (Photo: River Plate Foundation)

DR. MICHAEL FARKOUH: Cardiologist

​My wish: "Educate the young on the risks of smoking and unhealthy food."

My tip:  "Take the stairs whenever possible."

DORINA BASTON: Nurse, Cardiology

My wish: "My wish is that World Heart Day becomes the World Heart Year, World Heart Decade and even World Heart Century. Thus, future generations can be reached, educated, kept engaged and healthy. Heart health promotion should be a consistent, sustainable process across time and cultures."

My tip: "As health-care professionals, we all become active agents of heart health promotion through daily interactions with the recipients of our care. The holistic definition of health should prompt us to direct our care beyond cure and invest in prevention. This means using every opportunity to assess and address needs for education, as well as identifying barriers to learning and living principles of healthy living within communities.  As Peter Munk Cardiac Centre practitioners, we have the ideal opportunity to make an impact through meaningful partnership with patients and families."

DR. MICHAEL DOMANSKI: Division Head, Cardiology

My wish: "That we can make continued progress in the prevention and treatment of heart disease."

My tip: "Support research leading to improved understanding of how to prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease."

DR. VIV RAO: Cardiovascular surgeon

My tip:​"Encourage people to stop smoking."

BY THE NUMBERS:

2000 – The year the first World Heart Day took place

200+ - Number of countries participating in World Heart Day

55,000+ – New cases of heart disease diagnosed in Canada a year

$20.9 billion – Amount that heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy annually. (Heart and Stroke Foundation)

VALERIE SKEFFINGTON: Manager, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Program

My wish: "People realize heart health and heart-healthy behaviours are in their control!"

My tip:​ "Choose to be active every day –  being physically activity is a choice; do something you love; dance, walk the dog, bike, play hockey with your kids – invest in you – you are worth it!"

DR. DIEGO DELGADO: Cardiologist specializing in heart failure

My tip: "Take care of your heart by following a proper diet and regular exercise."

MARGARET BRUM: Dietitian

My wish: "That everyone could have access to fruits and vegetables every day."

My tip: "Start cooking! Prepare the majority of your meals at home. Enjoy these meals with friends and family."

DR. MICHAEL GOLLOB, Cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology

My wish: "A cigarette-free world."

My tip: "A brisk walk......every day. Easy."

DR. HEATHER ROSS, Cardiologist, Heart Transplant, UHN

My wish: "I wish everyone would walk 10,000 steps today and love it so much that they do it 5 times a week!"

My tip: "Take ownership of our own health, your life is WORTH ONE HOUR A DAY!"

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