Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, consists of cerebrovascular disease, coronary heart disease, aortic atherosclerosis, and peripheral heart disease. Heart disease is caused by decreased myocardial perfusion, leading to angina due to ischemia (Edgardo Olvera Lopez & Jan 2019). This study has focused on heart disease because it is a prevalent health problem in the US and the leading cause of death for racial minorities. One in every four deaths in the US is directly related to cardiovascular disease (CDC, 2019). Additionally, it is essential to highlight that heart disease accounts for $363 billion annually; two people die every minute due to cardiovascular disease (CDC, 2019). Heart disease has significantly affected people of color or racial minorities, with Hispanics facing the highest number of deaths at 20.3%, followed by White (non-Hispanic), Black (non-Hispanic), Asian Americans, and American Indians (CDC, 2019). Therefore, this study will focus on the history of heart disease, its treatment, the political and socio-economic impacts, and provide suggestions on the way forward.
History of the disease process
The surveillance of heart diseases started in 1984 when a Behavioral risk factor surveillance system began with only 15 states to determine the extent of the disease. A year later, the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health came up with national standards for standardizing National Cholesterol Education Program and Mane to approve the gold standard for cholesterol (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). In 1987, South Carolina started an intervention project in that the CDC aided in intervening in the state’s risk factors by using blood pressure screening, media campaigns, and health promotion activities in restaurants, malls, and schools (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). 1991, CDC partnered with Indian Health Services to develop an inter-tribal heart project survey based on the Menominee band in Wisconsin and the two Chippewa bands of Minnesota (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). By 1995, CDC had made the Catalonia declaration, and Victoria Declaration, by partnering with other organizations to determine the impact of heart diseases on society (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). Congress intervened in 1998 when they first released funds that were to be directly used in the developing heart disease prevention program, which was used in eight states.
The first county-level atlas based on geographic variations was drawn in 1999, which showed the main ethnic and racial disparities, hospitalizations, stroke mortality, and women’s and men’s atlas on the disease. However, it was not until 2000 that the first international conference was formed to discuss in Victoria, Canada, and the other in 2005 in Florida (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). Another CDC prevention program conference was held in August 2001 with more than six countries in attendance to discuss the environmental and policy interventions that could help reduce heart diseases. In 2001, Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry was officially funded by Congress to help in improving stroke management in Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, California, and Illinois (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). In 2003, the World Health Organization partnered with CDC and developed a global atlas on heart diseases, policies, risk factors, and programs. This information has been used up to date with few improvements to help curb the increasing number and manage heart diseases.
Before treatment, heart diseases are diagnosed through Holter monitoring, Electrocardiogram, Echocardiogram, Cardiac catheterization, stress test, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and computerized cardiac tomography. Treatment of heart disease in the US is relatively expensive, whereby for serious situations, it ranges from $10,000 to $18,000 (Kohli, 2021). The treatment is broken into three types: lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures and surgeries (Kohli, 2021). Lifestyle change involves lowering the risk of heart disease by controlling blood pressure, stopping smoking, keeping diabetes under control, checking cholesterol levels, eating healthy foods, managing stress, practicing good hygiene, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising.
Treatment involves using various medications that can help treat heart conditions. Some medications include beta-blockers, which help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Anticoagulants and antiplatelet therapies help in preventing blood clots (Kohli, 2021). Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors help expand blood vessels to treat heart disease, while calcium channel blockers reduce the pumping strength, ensuring that the blood is flowing at a lower pressure. Vasodilators such as Nitro stat relax the blood vessels (Kohli, 2021). Diuretics reduce the heart’s work by removing the excess water from the patient’s body. Doctors and healthcare practitioners can determine the best medication based on the condition of the heart disease.
Various surgeries can be conducted to help treat heart diseases. For instance, coronary angiography is the insertion of a tube in the blood vessel, which helps to widen it. Coronary artery bypass surgery is when the surgeon uses another healthy working vessel in the body and bocks or repairs the damaged ones (Kohli, 2021). Surgeons can also replace the damaged valves or create new paths for electric signals which aid in treating arterial fibration through maze surgery.
Socio-economic impact of heart disease
Health expenditure on heart disease has a significant impact on society, given that the resources are scarce. The morbidity of heart-related diseases affects the healthcare systems, caregivers, and patients’ families. This is due to the cost used by the family, the technologies to treat the disease, and many policies that have been set (CDC, 2019). Heart diseases also lead to premature exit from the workforce due to disability which affects the economic capability of a state, and the family is affected too. The long periods of hospitalizations may lead to negative performance at work due to absenteeism. This shows that heart diseases have a significant impact on society and economic well-being.
The political impact of heart disease
Political factors such as elections affect the heart disease rate in the US. A study conducted by Mefford et al. (2020) compared the hospitalization rates of heart disease patients after the 2016 presidential election in the US and immediately after the election of a new government and found that they had increased by 1.62 times. This shows that political factors affect the management of heart diseases in the US. Psychological stressors such as anxiety, anger, depression, and emotional upset may trigger heart disease. Since many of the adult population in the US is active in the political arena, actions taken by their political leaders significantly affect their stressor levels.
Heart diseases are prevalent in the US, with a high death toll. Although the US government has achieved various steps in mitigating the disease, there is a need for more action given that in every four deaths, one is from cardiovascular disease. The disease has a significant impact on the socio-economic and political factors, and therefore with proper intervention and treatment methods, it can save the country many funds used in treating the patients and productivity lost during those hospitalizations.
CDC. (2019). Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
Centers for Disease Control. (2018). History of Cardiovascular Health Activities Within the CDC|About Us|DHDSP|CDC. Www.cdc.gov. Web.
Edgardo Olvera Lopez, & Jan, A. (2019). Cardiovascular Disease. Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing. Web.
Kohli, P. (2021). Heart disease: Types, causes, and treatments. Www.medicalnewstoday.com. Web.
Mefford, M. T., Mittleman, M. A., Li, B. H., Qian, L. X., Reynolds, K., Zhou, H., Harrison, T. N., Geller, A. C., Sidney, S., Sloan, R. P., Mostofsky, E., & Williams, D. R. (2020). Sociopolitical stress and acute cardiovascular disease hospitalizations around the 2016 presidential election. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(43), 27054–27058. Web.