CDC Report Shows Need for Action in Cardiovascular Health Crisis

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In 2016, more than 1,000 Americans died each day from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report released last month. Further, it found that national progress in reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease has stalled. 

Despite these challenges, the report highlighted that many of the major risks for cardiac events are well known, and most are preventable. In fact, 80 percent of incidences of premature heart disease and strokes can be prevented through lifestyle and health care system changes. 

Million Hearts®, an initiative led by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was launched in 2012 to identify and advance high-impact strategies to improve heart health. Since its launch, the initiative has prevented an estimated 500,000 cardiac events, according to research published in JAMA. In 2017, Million Hearts® doubled down on its mission and set a goal of preventing one million heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events by 2022. 

To help advance these efforts, the Vital Signs report identified actions that can be taken at different levels—from the federal government to the individual—to improve heart health. For example, the federal government can advance heart health by investing in improving the delivery of care and rewarding clinicians for effective care.

Million Hearts® doubled down on its mission and set a goal of preventing one million heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events by 2022. 

At the provider level, it recommends focusing on the “ABCS” of heart health: aspirin use when appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation. State and local health departments can leverage Million Hearts® data to elevate their focus on local heart disease and stroke awareness events. Finally, individuals can focus on eating a heart healthy diet and engaging in more physical activity.

For more information about the report and further recommendations from Million Hearts®, visit the CMS Million Hearts® website and read the CDC’s Vital Signs report.