Delaware launches state-wide effort to prevent heart disease and stroke.
Another U.S. state is taking matters of the heart into its own hands. In January this year, Delaware launched a public-private effort ─ Million Hearts® Delaware, to advance the U.S. national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in Delaware, and high blood pressure, excess weight, and smoking contribute to thousands of heart attacks and strokes annually. In 2009 more than 2200 people in the state died of heart disease and stroke. According to the 2012 County Health Rankings, Kent County has the highest rates of obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet in the state.
Million Hearts®Delaware aims to save lives by aligning the efforts of hospitals, government, major employers, and health care providers on blood pressure, waist circumference, and clinical improvement. It is also working hard to raise public awareness to improve blood pressure control and waist circumference ─ key measures to reducing heart attacks and strokes.
Not only is the goal to identify risk through blood pressure and waist circumference measurements, but also to connect individuals with health care providers to address CVD risk factors. It also aims to improve care for those who do need treatment by encouraging a targeted focus on the “ABCS,” which address the major CVD risk factors and can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The acronym stands for: Aspirin therapy for people at risk; Blood pressure control; Cholesterol management; and Smoking cessation.
Among other events, this month Million Hearts®Delaware is encouraging adults to be screened for high blood pressure and obesity ─ the most telling risk factors of heart disease and stroke. Both conditions are also easily measured and people realize they can do something about them, especially through lifestyle changes. Those suggested by Million Hearts are to exercise, quit smoking, avoid drinking alcohol in excess, consume less sodium, add more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet and cook at home more often, avoiding prepackaged or prepared foods.
High blood pressure can also be controlled naturally. RESPeRATE, for example, is the first FDA-cleared, medical device that has been clinically proven to successfully treat hypertension. The device relaxes constricted blood vessels through guided breathing exercises.