(RxWiki News) Cardiovascular disease comes with a hefty price tag. Empowering each individual to take action preventing heart disease is a better long-term investment for health, according to a recent statement by the American Heart Association.
Published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the policy statement summarizes years of research on the value of prevention, and suggests community-level initiatives to encourage individuals to adopt a healthy lifestyle that cuts the risk of heart disease.
"Do your part by exercising, following a healthy diet and cutting salt intake."
Dr. William S. Weintraub, lead author of the statement and the John H. Ammon chair of cardiology and cardiology section chief at Christiana Care Health System, said that individuals often do not realize that they have the power to keep themselves healthy. However, he added that it is not something that people or families can do alone, and requires fundamental society changes.
The statement revealed that every dollar spent on building trails for biking or walking saves $3 in medical costs, while a national plan to cut salt in the food supply to support an average daily intake of 1500 milligrams of sodium may help reduce high blood pressure by 25 percent. This would save $26 billion in annual healthcare costs.
The statement also noted that companies that provide comprehensive worksite wellness programs have greater productivity, fewer missed days of work and lower healthcare costs.
Dr. Weintraub said that as compared to the high cost of treating chronic disease, prevention offers a way to improve health and trim costs. He said the amount currently being spent on heart disease is not sustainable.
Last year medical care combined with indirect costs of heart disease totaled $450 billion in the United States. That number is projected to reach past $1 trillion by 2030.
Heart disease deaths have decreased by more than 50 percent since the 1960s, when it was at its highest. Of that decrease, more than half is attributed to prevention such as improved management of high cholesterol and hypertension, and a reduction in smoking.