Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. and stroke (cerebrovascular disease) is the fourth leading cause of death (
, 2015). Over the last 14 years, there has been a decline but the rates have plateaued over the last several years.
Unfortunately, racial/ethnic population disparities continue especially for African American populations (
Sidney, et. al., 2016
Dr. Janet Wright's (Executive Director of Million Hearts®) recent
Million Hearts® 2022
presentation highlights the variances with disparities. One disparate cardiovascular health area is the prevalence of hypertension. Non-Hispanic black population's hypertension rate is 7% higher than the rates for Non-Hispanic white populations (NHANES 2013-2014). Hypertension control is only at 54% overall with great variances with racial/ethnic populations (NHANES 2013-2014).
- Non-Hispanic white population (57.4%)
- Hispanic population (47.7%)
- Non-Hispanic black population (46.3%)
- Non-Hispanic Asian population (41.5%)
Physical inactivity effects not only cardiovascular health (CVH) risk but many other chronic diseases such as diabetes. CVH disparities persist with both Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic populations (NHANES 2013-2014).
Million Hearts® 2022 will focus on reaching more people within the community settings including home health. There will also be a focus on improving outcomes for priority populations including:
- Black/African Americans
- 35-64 year olds
- People who have had a heart attack or stroke
- People with mental illness or substance use disorders
Gender CVH differences are also evident. Women have lower rates of CVD through menopause, but the rates then approach being the same for men and women. A study by McSweeney, et al. (2010) concludes that significant racial differences exist in prodromal (early symptoms) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) symptoms reported by women. Ninety-six percent (96%) of all women reports prodromal symptoms prior to an AMI. The authors also conclude that the women's descriptions of coronary heart disease and AMI symptoms should assist providers in interpreting women's symptoms (McSweeney, 2010).