Recently analyzed data show encouraging improvements in Americans’ cardiovascular risk factors and suggest that continued efforts nationwide could prevent many more heart attacks and strokes. (Read the full report linked below.) But there’s still work to be done—the data also highlight the need for more clinical and community-level adoption of Million Hearts®strategies. Using standardized hypertension treatment protocols, using health information technology effectively, promoting self-measured blood pressure monitoring with health care provider support, increasing the availability of lower-sodium foods, and adopting comprehensive smoke-free policies are all evidence-based approaches to improving cardiovascular health. Million Hearts® is making steady progress, but to reach our goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, we must continue to work together and improve the ABCS of heart health.
—Janet Wright, MD, FACC
Executive Director, Million Hearts®
One Easy Way to Support Million Hearts®
In honor of National High Blood Pressure Education Month and Stroke Awareness Month in May as well as Men’s Health Month in June, Millions Hearts®is encouraging men to know their blood pressure. More than 300,000 American men die each year from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for men. High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attack, and research shows one quarter of men have high blood pressure—many without knowing it. The Million Hearts® website has videos, fact sheets, and other materials for men who want to improve blood pressure control. Share these resources with your community, and visit our partners at Men’s Health Network for even more heart-healthy materials.
Tools You Can Use
- Check out new tools for Regional Extension Centers (RECs) from HealthIT.gov—RECs from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are working to help providers and practices improve health outcomes by leveraging health information technology (IT). Participate in ONC’s Million Hearts® Call to Action and do your part to reach the program’s goal and help 1,000 providers leverage health IT to track and measure successes on the ABCS of heart health, especially blood pressure control and smoking cessation.
- Use this fotonovela to discuss cholesterol and diet with Hispanic populations—Hispanics often have high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Promotores and other community health workers can use this fotonovela, in English or Spanish, to share cholesterol management information with the Spanish-speaking populations they serve. The accompanying guide offers tips, additional activities, reviews, and reminders in both languages.
- Veterans lose weight and improve their health with MOVE!®—On June 17, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hosted a webinar to share strategies for the successful adoption of MOVE!®, a national weight management program designed to help veterans live a healthier lifestyle. The program is tailored to veterans’ personal needs and offers resources to help veterans on their journey to improved health. (Please note that continuing education units are available only to those who participated in the live event.)
- Share Million Hearts® videos on your website or in your office—CDC StreamingHealth on YouTube has useful health information and features all of the Million Hearts® videos, including patient stories, provider success stories, and Million Hearts® events and activities.
Million Hearts® in the Community
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces six new funding opportunities for chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts. All six opportunities address one or more of the leading risk factors for the major causes of death and disability in the United States: tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity. Several of the opportunities also address key health system improvements and community supports to help Americans manage their chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and prediabetes. All the opportunities involve partnerships at the national, state, or local level because public health cannot solve these problems alone. Applications are due by July 22, 2014.
- The Office of Personnel Management offers smoking cessation benefit for all enrollees of Federal Employee Health Benefit plans. The benefit includes four tobacco cessation counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes for at least two quit attempts per year. The plans also incorporate any of the seven tobacco cessation medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration, with a prescription. The benefit has no copayments or coinsurance and is not subject to deductibles or annual or lifetime dollar limits.
Let us know what you're doing to advance Million Hearts® in your community! Send us a short description with some key points, and we may feature you in a future e-Update!
The Science of Million Hearts®
- New data reveals prevalence of top cardiovascular disease risk factors. Data published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report focus on community-level efforts that encourage reduced sodium consumption and tobacco exposure as well as the ABCS strategies of clinical care. Despite improvements in some of the risk factor data, the most current prevalence estimates for each ABCS measure fall short of Million Hearts® goals, underscoring the need for more clinical and community-level adoption of the initiative’s strategies.
- U.K. study finds reduced salt intake is a factor in lower death rates from heart disease and stroke. A study in BMJ examined the relationship between reduced salt intake in England and blood pressure and death from stroke and ischemic heart disease (IHD). From 2003 to 2011, deaths from stroke and IHD decreased, as did blood pressure. Based on a 15% reduction of salt intake in a random sample of the study’s participants, the researchers concluded that the reduction was likely an important contributor to the decrease in blood pressure and, in turn, the decreases in stroke and IHD deaths.
- Hospitalizations and death rates among those with pulmonary hypertension have increased during the past 10 years. In a study published online in the journal CHEST, researchers analyzed death rates from the National Vital Statistics System and data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey between 2001 and 2010 to analyze trends in hospitalizations and death rates related to pulmonary hypertension. The study’s findings illustrate the importance of recognizing and diagnosing pulmonary hypertension so that patients can receive proper treatment.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke deputy director stresses the importance of blood pressure control to prevent stroke. In a perspective for the journal Nature, Walter J. Koroshetz discusses how Americans are in a unique position of being able to prevent cardiovascular events such as stroke. Data show that the likelihood of stroke decreases as blood pressure decreases. By controlling blood pressure, we can prevent not just the death and physical disability that so often result from stroke, but also age-related cognitive impairment and dementia.