Heart disease is the leading cause of preventable death in people aged 40-65. There are over two million heart attacks and strokes each year. Together we can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes by focusing on the ABCs.
The ABCs to prevent heart attacks and strokes include:
- A – Aspirin when appropriate
- B – Blood pressure control
- C – Cholesterol management
- S – Smoking cessation
While most of these things may seem like common sense, the truth is that we do not do enough to support patients in managing their blood pressure and cholesterol or provide the tools and resources to stop smoking or make appropriate lifestyle changes. In September 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Million Hearts campaign with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. In order to achieve this, the Million Hearts campaign calls for some significant but achievable goals around the ABCs, including increasing the percentage of patients whose blood pressure is under control from 46% to 70% and increasing the percentage of patients with controlled cholesterol management from 33% to 70%.
Achieving these goals requires that we identify those patients in need of care and provide adequate support in managing their disease. Automated clinical interventions such as reminders about aspirin use, self-reporting blood pressure readings, and reminders about appropriate care and lifestyle changes are key steps that can help to drive patient compliance and understanding.