World Heart Day World Heart Day was created by the World Heart Federation in 2012 with the aim to raise awareness about heart disease and reduce global mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The campaign highlights the actions individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. Education and understanding the risk factors (tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity) associated with CVD is beneficial to reducing risk and improving heart health. ‘Heart disease and stroke is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 18.6 million lives each year’ Perth Blood Institute is promoting World Heart Day by providing information about the relationship between your blood vessels and heart health. The heart is at the centre of the circulatory system and your blood is continually flowing through it, therefore how blood moves around the body is crucial to an efficiently working heart. It is important for the blood to flow unrestricted and without obstruction to the heart. When blood flow to the heart is reduced or blocked in any way, several serious conditions may result. Arteriosclerosis Blood vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the body via the arteries become thick and stiff. This can restrict blood flow to the body’s organs. Atherosclerosis A type of arteriosclerosis. A build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances (plaque) in an artery. Plaque build-up can cause the arteries to narrow and restrict the blood to move easily. If a plaque bursts, this leads to a blood clot. Can be treated with healthy lifestyle habits. Venous thromboembolism Includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) which are blood clots in the veins in your legs. If the clots or thrombi become dislodged, they can travel to the heart and cause myocardial ischaemia and atrial fibrillation. Myocardial ischaemia Occurs when the heart does not receive sufficient blood carrying oxygen. This results in blockages of the heart’s arteries which can lead to a heart attack (or myocardial infarction). When there is a lack of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood reaching the heart, damage or destruction of parts of the heart muscle can occur. Atherosclerosis and blood clots are the two main causes of myocardial ischaemia. Risk factors include tobacco use, Type 1 and 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical activity. Atrial fibrillation (AF) AF is an irregular or rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) which can lead to blood clots in the heart. It represents both the cause and result of chronic conditions associated with CVDs, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke and thromboembolic events. AF increases the risk of stroke by 5-fold and is believed to be the cause of 15% of all strokes. Is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia which affects more than 33 million people worldwide and is on the rise. Risk factors include older age, heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, Diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity, drinking alcohol, and family history. For additional information about thrombosis and lifestyle tips, please visit our Tools & resources page on the Thrombosis Australia website. References About - World Heart Day (world-heart-federation.org) How the Heart Works - The Heart | NHLBI, NIH Myocardial ischemia - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Atrial fibrillation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Sagris, D. & Lip, G.Y.H. (2022) Atrial fibrillation, a contemporary sign of multimorbidity and irregular social inequity. Lancet Reg Health Eur.