Statement from Dr. Brian H. Rowe: World Heart Day

September 29, 2016

Today marks World Heart Day, an annual event organized by the World Heart Federation to raise awareness about the enormous health and economic impacts of cardiovascular disease (CVD) like heart attacks and strokes, the risk factors for CVD and what each of us can do to keep our heart healthy.

Heart disease and stroke are the world's leading causes of death, accounting for 17.3 million lives lost each year. In Canada, CVD kills one person every seven minutes.

The good news is that deaths from CVD are preventable: 80 per cent of premature deaths could be avoided, as the risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke can be modified through changes in behaviour. Risk factors include smoking tobacco, eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough physical activity and drinking too much alcohol.

The theme of this year's World Heart Day, Power Your Life, reminds us that our heart powers our body and that we can take care of this most vital of muscles by making a few small changes in our daily lives.

I'm proud to say that CIHR is helping to make a difference. From 2010-2015, CIHR invested over $490 million in research into cardiovascular health. From funding the work of world-renowned researchers like Dr. Salim Yusuf and Dr. Richard Whitlock, to supporting the next generation of heart researchers through the Emerging Research Leaders Initiative, to setting up dedicated networks to recruit, train, support and retain scientists working on stroke, vascular disease and respiratory health, CIHR and its Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health are supporting discoveries and people that save lives.

This World Heart Day, I would like to recognize the many researchers who are working to reduce the burden of heart disease. Your work is making a difference across the country and internationally. I am also calling on all Canadians to get heart smart and find out how to manage and improve their cardiovascular health.

Dr. Brian H. Rowe

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