Tomorrow 29 September, we will celebrate World Heart Day. On this occasion, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides made the following statement:
“Cardiovascular disease continues to severely affect health, societies and economies around the world. It is the leading cause of death in the EU and in the world. Each year in the EU, more than 6 million people suffer from heart conditions and more than 1.8 million people die from heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease, and non-communicable diseases more generally, not only severely reduce life expectancy but are also responsible for 77% of the disease burden in Europe. And people with cardiovascular disease have a higher risk to develop other diseases, including serious forms of COVID-19.
These figures leave no room for interpretation: the threat that cardiovascular disease poses to our citizens, our societies and our economy is abundantly clear. That is why the Commission stands shoulder to shoulder with the Member States to reduce cardiovascular disease and the burden that it puts on health systems. Our support includes launching two joint actions under the Healthier Together initiative. The first provides €53 million to help Member States work together on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The other, with a budget of €75 million, supports cooperation between Member States in addressing the root causes of heart and other non-communicable diseases.
But let us not forget that most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented. It is crucial to change bad habits, such as unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, smoking and harmful alcohol consumption. This is why, together with Member States and civil society, we very much focus on raising awareness around heart health, and on the “little big” steps that each one of us can take to live healthier lives. We have for example made €5 million available for civil society organisations to help us prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and avoid their risk factors.
And finally, on this World Heart Day, it is also important to stress that early detection is key. All too often, there are no symptoms, a heart attack or stroke may be the first sign of underlying disease. Prevention is what saves lives, and we must all work together on detection and prevention across the EU."
- Publication date
- 28 September 2023
- Representation in Cyprus