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Ethn Dis. 1998;8(2):228-39.

Strategies for cardiovascular disease prevention: importance of public and community health programs.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29464, USA. eganbm@musc.edu

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), principally coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and congestive heart failure, continue to be the leading cause of death claiming nearly 1,000,000 lives annually and accounting for more than 40% of the deaths in the United States (American Heart Association). While cardiovascular disease is often viewed as a problem of the elderly, 45% of heart attacks occur among individuals less than 65 years old. Moreover, CVD is the second leading cause of death for those 45 to 64 years of age and the third leading cause of death for those 25 to 44 years old. In economic terms, the annual direct and indirect costs of heart attack and stroke are approximately $259 billion or $492,444/second, in the United States alone. Thus, from a human and economic perspective, heart and vascular diseases are an enormous burden worthy of significant attention. This review is not intended to ignore the 50% decline in age-adjusted rates for heart attack and stroke events over the preceding three decades, as summarized by the recent report of the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VI). However, progress has halted as coronary heart disease and stroke mortality rates have reached a plateau in recent years and appear to be rising. Consequently, this is an excellent time for re-examining our approach to the prevention and treatment of CVD. In this article, readers will find an overview of the CVD prevention and treatment topics and not an in-depth analytical or epidemiological assessment of risk factors and outcomes. First, a macroscopic approach to reducing CVD is presented, followed by a discussion emphasizing the critical importance of public health and community-based programs in the effort to significantly reduce the burden of hypertension and related cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Effective public health programs can play a pivotal role in raising awareness, and more importantly, in facilitating lifestyle change, entry and retention in the healthcare system, and compliance with non-pharmacological as well as drug therapy.

PMID:
9681288
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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