Despite being largely preventable, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and related conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations and 415,000 deaths in 2016, according to a Vital Signs report. Many of the events were in adults aged 35 to 64 years—middle-aged adults who would not normally be considered at risk.
But “many opportunities to find and treat risk factors are missed every day,” the CDC says. “Many of these [cardiovascular] events can be prevented through daily actions to help lower risk and better manage medical conditions,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of CDC. For instance, the report reveals that:
- 9 million American adults are not yet taking aspirin as recommended
- 40 million adults with high blood pressure are not yet under safe control
- 39 million adults can benefit from managing their cholesterol
- 54 million adults are smokers
- 71 million adults are not physically active
The CDC recommends that health care professionals can help by focusing on the ABCS (aspirin, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking cessation), and using technology, customized processes, and the “skills of everyone in the health care system” to find and fill gaps in care.