Heart disease and stroke is the world’s greatest killer, accounting for 18.6 million deaths every year. To raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD), the World Heart Association has designated Sept. 29 as World Heart Day. But maybe every day should be World Heart Day. After all, an estimated 80% of heart disease deaths in the U.S. are preventable, according to the CDC. 

Here is a reminder about the warning signs of heart disease, steps to fight it, and how to help those who suffer from it.

Creating Connections to Reduce Heart Disease Deaths

As the world continues to struggle with COVID-19, the World Heart Association this year is promoting connection as the critical element in preventing deaths due to heart disease and stroke: “A chance for us all to connect with our own hearts and make sure we’re fuelling and nurturing them as best we can; and to use the power of digital to connect every heart, everywhere.”

What can employers do to drive connections to help reduce heart disease deaths? 

Look at How Your Wellness Solution Connects Employees to Their Hearts

A great place to start a daily campaign to reduce heart disease deaths — or at least start raising awareness more often than once a year — is by revisiting your wellbeing program with the following seven questions in mind:

  1. Does your wellbeing program connect with your multigenerational workforce? While older Americans are at the greatest risk of heart disease, it’s a growing concern for all adults. By 2035, more than 45% of Americans are projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease.
  2. Do you have a holistic benefits package with the range of wellbeing programs employees expect from employers today?
  3. Do you have a wellness platform with programs and communication that encourage employees to “connect with their hearts”? Do you offer education that can help your workforce get motivated and stay motivated to eat better, quit smoking, and get plenty of exercise year-round? High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are among the most common risks leading to heart disease deaths.
  4. Does your wellness solution empower all of your employees — salaried and hourly, on-site and remote — to connect with their healthy habits through digital tools like phone apps and wearables?
  5. What does your wellbeing program offer to connect employees with ways to reduce stress? Someone with a stress disorder is 37% more likely to develop heart-related disease than those in the general population (and the association is stronger among people under 50).
  6. What about other mental conditions? Can your wellness solution connect employees with programs, tools, and outside support to recognize and get help for depression? Adults with a depressive disorder or symptoms of depression have a 64% greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.
  7. Does your wellness solution have mindfulness apps not only to reduce stress, but also to connect employees with a better night’s sleep? On average, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is another recognized risk for heart disease.

With heart disease deaths taking such a huge toll on U.S. workers, and with so many of those deaths being preventable, it just makes sense for HR leaders to better connect their people with education and opportunities to reduce their risk of heart disease.