World Heart Day, observed every Sept. 29, focuses our attention on a vital organ of our bodies -- our heart. It is the perfect time for people to start taking better care of their heart health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is said to account for half of all non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths, making it the "world's number one killer," according to the World Heart Federation, the organization that created the observance.

On this day, people all over the world are encouraged to take steps to protect their heart health and that of the people around them.

"Through this campaign, the World Heart Federation unites people from all countries and backgrounds in the fight against the CVD burden and inspires and drives international action to encourage heart-healthy living across the world," said the World Heart Foundation. "We and our members believe in a world where heart health for everyone is a fundamental human right and a crucial element of global health justice."

People can participate in this year's event through various means. Activities for the event include making a poster to share on social media or in your own communities, listening to this World Heart Day Spotify playlist that includes 61 songs, or taking the World Heart Day Challenge to walk, bike, or run in a heart shape around their communities.

"Whatever distance you make, every step counts for your heart health," the organization noted. "We want to see as many hearts, in as many cities as possible by 29 September 2022. Whether alone or in a group, create your heart shape and share it with others."

Of course, one of the best ways to observe the day is to begin taking steps to take care of your heart and the hearts of those around us. It may seem a daunting task at first, but there are actually many simple things we can do every day to maintain or improve our heart health.

This includes choosing to eat healthier and opting for more vegetables and fruits over ones that are high in sugar and saturated fat, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similarly, it's also best to choose water over sugary drinks and to limit alcohol consumption.

Monitoring and controlling one's blood pressure is also useful for a heart-healthy lifestyle. There are many safe blood pressure devices today that people can use, said the CDC. Finding ways to manage stress, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight are also key to heart health. It's also best to quit smoking or, for non-smokers -- avoid second-hand smoke. Taking medicines as instructed by doctors is also vital.

On this day, choose to take the first steps towards a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Heart Disease Credit: Pixabay