From Our 2011 Archives
Heart Disease Prevention Saves Lives and Money
American Heart Association Wants Policies That Prevent Disease and Help the Economy
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
July 25, 2011 -- Preventing heart disease may be critical to the health of the nation's economy as well as its population, according to a new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).
Researchers say the annual direct and indirect costs of heart disease topped $450 billion last year and are expected to rise to more than $1 trillion in the next 20 years.
"What we spend on cardiovascular disease is not sustainable. But we can afford to prevent it. Ultimately, we can't afford not to," says researcher William S. Weintraub, MD, chairman of the committee who wrote the AHA policy statement, in a news release.
The statement summarizes recent research on the value of heart disease prevention and calls for individuals and local, state, and federal policy makers to take action as a sound investment in the future financial and physical health of the country.
"People often don't realize the power to stay healthy is in their own hands," says Weintraub, chair of cardiology and cardiology section chief at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del. "But it's not something many individuals or families can do alone. It takes fundamental changes from society as a whole."
Preventing Heart Disease
Researchers say deaths from heart disease have declined by more than 50% since peaking in the 1960s and more than half of that drop has been attributed to prevention through better management of cholesterol, blood pressure, and tobacco use.
In the statement, the AHA calls for policy makers to ensure that:
SOURCES: Weintraub, W. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, July 25, 2001.News release, American Heart Association. ©2011 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.