Heart health beats out mental health and cancer as the top health concern in the US

Steven Loeb · February 1, 2023 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/5617

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, and most racial groups

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and that cuts across both men and women, as well as nearly all racial and ethnic group: every 34 seconds someone in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease. About 697,000 people died from heart disease in 2020, or 1 in every 5 deaths.

This has not gone unnoticed: survey results from MedStar Health, released on Wednesday to coincide with the first day of American Heart Month, showed that 43% of survey respondents knew that heart health as the leading cause of death, though they also seem to think of mostly as a problem for men, as only 29% identified it as the leading cause of death in women as well. 

The survey indicates that, while people are appropriately worried about heart disease, they perhaps they're not doing as much as they should be to mitigate their own risks. And there's more education to be done in this area. 

In all, 22% of the 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed in December 2022, said heart disease was their number one health concern; that was greater than other major conditions, including mental health, cancer, and COVID-19. Yet, more than a third still said they don't discuss heart health with their provider when they have their annual physical.

On top of knowing about the death rate from heart disease, MedStar Health also asked whether people could identify the five symptoms of a heart attack, finding that only 12% of Americans knew them allL chest pain or discomfort; feeling weak, light-headed, or faint; pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back; pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders; and shortness of breath.

In addition, less than half of Americans have been trained in CPR, and only 41% said they would feel comfortable administering CPR.

Finally, only 4% knew that the recommended age for cholesterol screening is at age 9 to 11.

“If you have questions or concerns about your heart health, your yearly exam is the perfect time to bring them up,” MedStar Health Cardiologist Robert Lager, MD., said in a statement. 

“Catching heart disease early is the best way to prevent it from causing bigger problems down the road. Your primary care provider can help you take control of your heart health, and American Heart Month is a great time to remind patients of that.”

The risk of heart disease has also been noticed by investors: in 2022, it was the second highest funded clinical indication, with $1.3 billion, second only to the $2.1 billion invested in mental health. That was a decrease of 28% from 2022, but still the second highest amount of funding ever received.

Some of the companies that were funded last year include virtual cardiac care platform Story Health, which raised $22.6 million; AI-based heart health platform Cleerly, which raised $223 million; and Hello Heart, a digital therapeutic for cardiovascular care, which raised $70 million.

In addition, Anumana, an AI-driven company that develops ECG algorithms enabling early disease diagnosis and intervention, announced a multi-year agreement with Pfizer, with plans to develop a new AI-ECG algorithm to help identify patients who may be at risk of cardiac amyloidosis.

(Image source: apollohealthlib.blob.core.windows.net)

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