Recently I was alerted to a CDC-sponsored initiative entitled Million Hearts™ (http://millionhearts.hhs.gov ). This national initiative’s goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years by bringing together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke. I believe this laudable goal deserves our attention and support. Cardiovascular mortality and morbidity may not directly impact you, but I guarantee it has impacted your network of family & friends.
A few startling heart disease and stroke-related key facts:
- • Heart disease kills roughly the same number people in the United States each year as cancer, lower respiratory diseases (including pneumonia), and accidents combined.
- • Number of people in the United States who die from heart disease:
-2,200 each day
-800,000 each year (150,000 are under 65)
- • 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is due to heart disease.
- • 1 in 3 people (80 million) in the United States have some form of heart disease, which can include severe chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
- • Approximately 49% of adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- • Number of heart attacks and strokes that occur in the United States: 2,000,000/year.
- • Heart disease and stroke cost the nation $444 billion/year in health care costs and lost economic productivity
As you are well aware, many risk factors for heart disease and stroke—including high blood pressure and high cholesterol—may not have any symptoms, hence the term “The Silent Killer” we oftentimes use for high blood pressure (hypertension). In the Sioux Falls area, DAKOTACARE is assisting the City of Sioux Falls during the month of April in their effort to encourage all adults to get screened for high blood pressure. This “Big Squeeze” program is part of the City Health Department’s “Live Well Sioux Falls” efforts to improve overall health care.
Fortunately, most risk factors for heart disease and stroke—specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity—are preventable and controllable. That is where you come in, we want you to REMEMBER YOUR ABC’S:
A — Appropriate Aspirin Therapy
B — Blood Pressure Control
C — Cholesterol Management
S — Smoking Cessation
Get your blood pressure checked, ask your doctor whether aspirin therapy is appropriate for you, keep your cholesterol numbers in the ideal range, stop smoking. By working hard through living a healthier lifestyle, which improves your risk factors for heart disease, we could reduce risk of heart attack or stroke in this country by more than 80%!
It won’t be easy, but we know you can do it. Good luck in your efforts.