Feds Focus on Cardiovascular Health Disparities as American Heart Month and Black History Month Coincide   

Feds Focus on Cardiovascular Health Disparities as American Heart Month and Black History Month Coincide

ICD10monitor/RACmonitor Correspondent

One American dies from heart disease every 33 seconds.

As February’s American Heart Month and Black History Month coincide, federal officials are reminding the healthcare world that Black individuals have the highest prevalence of cardiovascular disease of any racial group in the country – and they’re pledging to do something about it.

“Black communities are often disproportionately affected by heart disease and many of its risk factors, including difficulties with access to medication, preventive services, and safe exercise,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) said in a recent statement. “Throughout February, CMS OMH celebrates both American Heart Month and Black History Month by emphasizing the importance of prevention and care management to combat health disparities in Black communities.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., accounting for one death every 33 seconds, or nearly 700,000 annually, officials noted. The overall cost related to the disease approached $240 billion annually in 2018 and 2019.

Although heart disease-related deaths have declined over the past two decades, research shows that disparities persist. In 2019, for example, Black adults were 30 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than white people. Slightly more than 60 percent of Black men in the U.S. were found to have some form of cardiovascular disease during a study focusing on the years of 2015 to 2018, and nearly 59 percent of Black women.

As a starting point, CMS OMH pointed to a number of resources for individuals to take control of their heart health. Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created an infographic highlighting its Seven Strategies to Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle, available here: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/infographics/HeartHealth-H.pdf

For more information, and to review all of the additional resources, go online to: https://www.cms.gov/priorities/health-equity/minority-health/resource-center/resource-center/health-observances

The American Heart Association (AHA) is focusing on a public awareness campaign of its own during Black History Month: the importance of knowing CPR. Women and Black and Hispanic individuals are less likely to receive bystander CPR, the Association noted, and Black Americans have the highest incidence of cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, making them significantly less likely to survive such events.

About 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die, according to the AHA. Yet CPR, if administered immediately following cardiac arrest, can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

The AHA has created a 60-second video offering basic instruction on how to perform hands-only CPR, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxEfQJP3MQk Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for RACmonitor and ICD10monitor who has been writing and editing material about the federal oversight of American healthcare for more than 15 years. He can be reached at mcspivey33@gmail.com

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Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for RACmonitor.com, ICD10monitor.com, and Auditor Monitor who has been writing and editing material about the federal oversight of American healthcare for more than a decade.

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