Heart Health and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention with Direct Primary Care
As February comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on each other’s hearts. February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, with 1 in 3 deaths related to it in America and it’s a disease that is largely preventable. In fact, according to the CDC about “80% of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, are preventable.” Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is on the rise and already costs almost $1 billion per day to manage.
Projections from recent reports estimate that by 2035 about 45% of American adults will live with cardiovascular disease, which will amount to a price tag of $1 trillion per year. If we take better care of our hearts we can reverse or at least slow down this trend. The key to the prevention of chronic disease including cardiovascular disease is a strong foundation of primary care that is centered on more holistic patient care. Several factors contribute to cardiovascular health including maintaining a healthy diet and weight, physical activity, avoiding smoking and excessive stress, and monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C levels.
What have you done to take care of your heart today? At Hint, we are strong advocates for direct primary care. We know that cardiovascular health can be better monitored and strengthened when doctors can spend more time with patients and patients are encouraged by wellness options available to them. Over the past few years, there has been a shift towards organic foods and a more plant-based diet as well as more physical activity. And more recently, with the onset of the pandemic, more attention has been directed to mental health, stress/burnout, and self-care remedies.
In the same vein, we need to redirect the current “sick-care” model that is focused on alleviating symptoms and relies on the fee-for-service insurance-based system to a model focused on wellness and prevention of disease that brings the doctor-patient relationship back via direct primary care. The burden of insurance is a stressor that not only takes doctors’ time away from patients but also adds unpaid labor to patients who have to navigate the healthcare system to get the services that they need. Let’s take better care of each other and our hearts with a transformational shift to direct primary care across this nation.