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The ABCs of Heart Health - Healthy Choices Proven to Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes

Did you know that 2,200 Americans die each day from cardiovascular disease, and the disease cost the nation $444 billion in health care costs in 2010? One out of three deaths in the United States is due to heart disease. These figures, released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are a major reason why the CDC and other state and local partners launched a program in September 2011 called "Million Hearts."

Million Hearts' goal is preventing one million heart attacks and strokes over five years. Million Hearts encourages heart-healthy choices including avoiding tobacco use and reducing the amount of sodium and trans fat in your diet. The ABCS of heart health was created to help people at risk remember - Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation. Exercise is also highly recommended.

"In New York State, we're working in a public private partnership along with the New York State Department of Health to combat heart disease with initiatives like the Chronic Disease Self Management Program that teaches older adults and adults at risk how to manage their health and make good decisions," said Acting Director Greg Olsen.

The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP) is an evidence-based program developed by Stanford University. It utilizes peer leaders to help people better manage many chronic conditions like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. This two hour per week, six week program has improved quality of life by helping people realize the value of physical activity, eating nutritiously and interacting as an active participant in their health care choices.

"The CDSMP program is a great example of a low-cost, high impact program that has proven to reduce hospitalizations, reduce physician visits, reduced the use of medications and decreases in pain while providing the individuals the tools and confidence to actually improve their health," Olsen said "CDSMP programs are operational in six regions - the Capital District, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, Long Island, Western New York and New York City. Our strategic goal is to continue to develop capacity to make CDSMP available to older adults and persons at risk in every county in New York State."

For all the details about how you can become more heart healthy by understanding the risks of heart disease, visit Million Hearts.(External Link) To learn more about CDSMP, click "Programs and Services" on main page of the Aging site.

Did you know?
CDSMP was the topic of discussion for a segment on NYSOFA's television program, Aging & You. The segment highlights the Living Healthy NY Community Workshop,(External Link) a community program in the Capital Region which helps individuals with chronic health issues, and their caregivers, to learn how to manage and live with chronic conditions.