Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight

MartinThis post was authored by Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.

We’re currently at a crossroads of health care delivery and health promotion. Up until now, we, as cardiovascular professionals, have been laser focused on secondary prevention, only scraping the surface of primary prevention. While technological and educational advances over the last few decades have resulted in a significant reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S., the burden of CVD is set to increase 57 percent by 2020 worldwide.

To adjust to this new landscape, we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer. This is no easy task. Population health – which is at a complex intersection between an increasingly diverse population, an evolving health care system, traditional public health and elaborate social policies – is not easy to define. I can guarantee that each and every one of us has a different perspective on the topic, making it difficult to come to a consensus on how best to move forward. Continue reading

The Opportunity of Cardiac Rehab

Melissa Tracy headshotThis post was authored by Melissa Tracy, MD, FACC, section chief, non-invasive cardiology, Division of Cardiology at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, and a member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

We are a country of opportunity. We are a society of diversity. We should all be treated with the best care possible. A recent update on the regional referral to cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) after angioplasty published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that we are not doing just that.  We must change from a SICK care model to a HEALTH care model. Continue reading

How to Talk to Patients About Nutrition

Jane CasselThis post was authored by Jane Cassel, PA-C, cardiovascular team member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

Working in an acute coronary unit exposes me to several situations that cause me to think about the future of heart disease that provides me with a source of employment. Census data show that coronary artery disease and related mortality has decreased significantly in the recent decades, however, heart disease is still the number one killer among men and women in certain age groups in the U.S. Even with that information, fighting the disease from progressing continues to be a goal that I don’t see will ever become a null product. Continue reading

How to Talk to Patients About Smoking

This post was authored by Lekshmi Santhosh, MD, Trevor Jensen, MD and Eric Stecker, MD, MPH, FACC, member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section.

There are many demands on clinicians’ time. But what distinguishes cardiologists is an unyielding commitment to engage in care that is proven to reduce morbidity and mortality. These efforts have paid off; the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease decreased 50 percent over 20 years, with half of that decline attributable to cardiovascular care. Few other specialties can point to such a dramatic impact.

But we can do better. Overall, 18 percent of American adults and 37 percent of cardiology patients still place themselves at significant risk by smoking. General cardiologists and subspecialists are in a unique position to focus patients’ attention on the benefits of quitting smoking at moments when they are maximally engaged in improving health. It can be very motivating for a patient to hear that the average person will extend his or her life by 4-10 years by quitting smoking! Even patients with many comorbidities experience improvements in length and quality of life from quitting smoking, often within six months. Continue reading

Prevention and Active Living

Mattina_Deirdre_13CThis post was authored by Deirdre J. Mattina, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, and member of the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

In my recent weeks of inpatient rounding I have been struck by the misperception of patient activity level reported by staff. Basically, anyone who is not bed-bound is “active.” We know from surveillance studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, that only half of adults and less than a third of youth meet aerobic physical activity guidelines. As we battle the obesity epidemic it has been increasingly important to not only advise heart healthy eating habits, but to emphasize the necessity for regular aerobic activity. Continue reading

Join the ACC in Celebrating Heart Month

This post was authored by Shal Jacobovitz, chief executive officer of the ACC.

Each February, Heart Month provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease – the leading cause of death around the world. This year, the ACC is using Heart Month to provide cardiovascular professionals and the patients they serve with tools and resources to help prevent, or at the very least minimize, major cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and smoking.

Kicking off the month, the ACC and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) are hosting a Twitter Chat tomorrow, Feb. 3 from 1-2 p.m. ET. The chat will feature experts from both the ACC and the ADA discussing the relationship between diabetes and heart disease, tips to reduce the risk of diabetes, and new tools and research on the horizon to help both patients and health care providers best treat the disease. Follow @CardioSmart and use the hashtag #DiabetesHeart to follow along. Continue reading

Sudden Death in Athletes: A Wake-Up Call to Follow Pre-Participation Screening Guidelines

This post was authored by Michelle A. Grenier, MD, FACC, member of the ACC’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Section Leadership Council.

There is little that sparks more controversy amongst physicians caring for young athletes than the pre-participating screening physical. There are factions amongst some of the most intelligent, well-read, elite practitioners. On one end of the spectrum, there is the belief: “What use is the screening physical if the end result is the final common pathway (unstable ventricular arrhythmia)?” On the other end, there is the belief that “All young athletes, regardless of sport and level of participation require history, physical, EKG and echo… and if necessary, MRI and stress!” In reality, the majority fall somewhere in between, and vacillate somewhat in real-world practice. Continue reading

Cholesterol Guideline Updates: New Tables and Figures

By Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors

Last November, the ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA), in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other specialty societies, released four prevention guidelines that focused on obesity, the assessment of cardiovascular risk, lifestyle modifications to reduce cardiovascular risk and management of elevated blood cholesterol and body weight in adults. Continue reading

Innovative Ways to Know Your Numbers

This post was authored by Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, president-elect of the ACC.

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Baseball legend Dwight “Doc” Gooden was a special guest at the free health screening community event.

Last week the College’s CardioSmart program, based on the Association of Black Cardiologist’s (ABC) Spirit of the Heart program model, held a Community Leaders Forum in South Bronx, New York. This program brought together panelists from across the patient spectrum to discuss patient and community engagement when it comes to health outcomes, the importance of knowing your numbers, women and metabolic syndrome, LGBTQ youth, the importance of leading by example, and more. Continue reading

Cardiometabolic Syndrome: A Problem Whose Time Has Come

This post was authored by William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, ACC executive vice president of Science, Education and Quality.

A diverse group of stakeholders came together for the Cardiometabolic Think Tank.

A diverse group of stakeholders came together for the Cardiometabolic Think Tank.

“It’s a problem whose time has come,” said Scott Grundy, MD, PhD, in kicking off a special Cardiometabolic Think Tank focused on addressing cardiometabolic disease and its interdependencies and identifying a new care model that takes an integrated approach to treating risk factors across diverse populations.

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