When it comes to your health, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true when it comes to your heart health, given that a strong, thriving cardiovascular system is the very foundation of physical wellness and vitality.
That’s the central philosophy behind preventive cardiac care, a subspecialty of cardiovascular medicine that aims to reduce your risk of developing the most common chronic illness — and the leading cause of mortality — in the United States: heart disease.
Board-certified nurse practitioner Eliza Codd, ARNP, FNP-BC, AG-ACNP-BC, CLS, and our expert team at Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic are pleased to offer a full scope of preventive cardiology services for patients in and around Shenandoah, Texas.
Here, we discuss the enormous and far-reaching toll that heart disease takes on individuals as well as society — and explain how preventive cardiac care can save both your money and your life.
Basic facts about heart disease
Heart disease is an umbrella medical term for various chronic heart disorders. The most common form of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that causes decreased blood flow to the heart, setting the stage for a potential heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.
For most people, heart disease is fully preventable with heart-healthy living. The three most significant risk factors for heart disease are:
Nearly one in two Americans (47%) have at least one of these three major risk factors. Several other common health conditions and lifestyle choices can compound your heart disease risk, including:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Unhealthy eating patterns
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol intake
Common mental health concerns — from chronically high stress levels and uncontrolled anxiety to mood disorders (i.e., depression, bipolar disorder) and unprocessed trauma — can also stress your heart and take you another step closer to heart disease.
Heart disease statistics and costs
Before we dive into specific heart disease statistics and health care costs, we’d like to point out that an astounding 90% of the nation’s annual health care expenditures is used to fund the treatment of people with chronic and mental health conditions.
Heart disease is a major contributor to this cost: One in six health care dollars spent in the U.S. annually goes to heart disease treatment. Every year, heart disease:
- Causes about 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes
- Leads to over 877,500 deaths (one in three deaths)
- Kills more people than cancer, respiratory diseases, and accidents combined
- Costs the U.S. health care system over $216 billion
- Costs over $147 billion in lost productivity nationally
These costs filter down to the individual level, too, of course. Medications to manage heart disease cost money, as do the surgical treatments that may be required as it advances.
For example, annual medical costs for people with hypertension are up to $2,500 higher than they are for those with healthy blood pressure levels, mostly due to medication costs.
A recent study shows that direct medical costs for people with established heart disease are about $19,000 per year, with inpatient (hospitalization) costs accounting for nearly 43%, or over $8,100, of the total annual figure.
Cardiovascular interventions and treatment techniques may be more advanced than ever before, but they’re also expensive: The average cost for a heart operation is about $85,000.
Preventive cardiac care benefits
Living with heart disease can take a heavy toll on your health — this is why it remains the leading cause of death for American men and women across most racial and ethnic groups. Fortunately, most forms of heart disease are also preventable.
Preventive cardiac care focuses on lowering your heart disease risk as well as your chances of having a first heart attack or stroke — thereby reducing your annual health care costs, too. If you’ve already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, preventive cardiology works to slow or stop its progression.
Preventive cardiac care has two objectives: To fully assess your cardiovascular risk factors, and to create a comprehensive plan of action that actively mitigates that risk.
This includes getting you on track with regular physical exams, blood pressure checks, blood lipid screenings, and diabetes screenings as well as helping you lose weight, get more active, establish healthier eating patterns, stop smoking, and manage other chronic conditions.
Ready to improve your heart health and save money? We can help. To learn more about our preventive cardiac care services, call our office in Shenandoah, Texas, today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule an appointment any time.