Heart disease and stroke are the most common cardiovascular diseases. For both men and women in the United States, heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death, respectively, accounting for nearly 40 percent of annual deaths.xxiv Although these largely preventable conditions are more common among people 65 years or older, the number of sudden deaths from heart disease among people aged 15 years to 24 years has increased. The economic impact of cardiovascular disease on the Nation’s health care system continues to grow as the population ages.
A key strategy for HHS in addressing heart disease and stroke and its risk factors is educating health practitioners and the public about the importance of prevention, about the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and about the importance of calling 911 quickly. To make women more aware of the danger of heart disease, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH has collaborated with other organizations to sponsor a national campaign called The Heart Truth. The campaign’s goal is to raise women’s awareness about their risk of heart disease, and has resulted in striking improvements in women’s awareness of heart disease and their acknowledgment of personal risk. CDC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program will continue to help States control high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, among residents; increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke; improve emergency response; improve quality of care; and eliminate health disparities. Medicare’s preventive services cover cardiovascular disease screenings.
HHS will continue to provide national leadership to prevent death and disability from heart disease and stroke and to expand support to State cardiovascular disease prevention efforts. FDA also contributes to prevention of heart disease through its food labeling regulations. For example, the recent requirement for trans-fat information on food labels provides consumers with additional information on the fat content of packaged foods. Reductions in consumption of trans-fatty acids are expected to reduce the risk of heart disease significantly.
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