When it comes to the nation's number one killer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), as many as 42 percent of those surveyed were determined to be at elevated CVD risk using a formula that is based in part on the Framingham Risk Calculator*. If this survey outcome were to be applied to the total populations of men over 40 and women over 50 it could mean that as many as 47.8 million people are at elevated CVD risk**. Among those at elevated risk, as many as one in five have not spoken to their physicians about the preventive benefits of low-dose aspirin therapy.
"Knowing your cardiovascular risk and taking appropriate steps to lower it can decrease the number of heart attacks and strokes suffered in this country every year," said Dr.
In fact, according to a report issued by the AHA and two other major health organizations and published in recent issues of Circulation(i) and Diabetes Care, greater appropriate use of preventive measures that include aspirin therapy, weight loss, cholesterol and blood pressure reduction, and smoking cessation would reduce heart attacks by 36 percent over the next three decades(ii). A report by the Partnership for Prevention also calculated that 45,000 lives would be saved each year if more adults took a low-dose aspirin to prevent CV events(iii). In addition, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed policy in July to increase education among physicians on the importance of appropriate aspirin counseling for the prevention of heart attacks and recurrent stroke. Encouraging physicians to incorporate aspirin counseling into patient care when appropriate may help reduce the prevalence of heart attack and recurrent stroke, said the AMA.
The new survey results were released today in conjunction with the World Heart Federation's World Heart Day 2008, a global advocacy campaign aimed at increasing public awareness and promoting the use of preventive measures to reduce the incidence of CVD. World Heart Day 2008 will be observed on Sunday, 28 September. This year's theme – "Know Your Risk" – focuses on improving understanding of personal risk for cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. As part of the campaign, heart health screening and other activities for the public are being planned in over 100 countries worldwide.
"On the occasion of World Heart Day, this survey shows there still is much work to be done when it comes to risk factor education, and encouraging behaviors that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," said
The survey was part of a global project that included 10 countries in
Survey Outcomes — Comparing Health Risks and Risks of Daily Living
Americans view a variety of routine activities associated with daily living as moderately or highly risky (i.e., having a moderate to high likelihood of a negative consequence) including not wearing a seat belt (85 percent), throwing paperwork with personal information in the trash (85 percent), and talking on a cell phone while driving (84 percent). While the vast majority of respondents act to reduce risks associated with not wearing a seat belt (81 percent wear a seat belt regularly), 28 percent regularly or occasionally throw personal information in the trash, and 41 percent admit to regularly or occasionally talking on a cell phone while driving.
When it comes to activities or behaviors related to health risks, even though 92 percent feel smoking or using tobacco is moderately to highly risky, 22 percent of respondents still use tobacco regularly (with an additional five percent occasionally). Other notable actions associated with taking health risks included:
— Forgetting to take prescribed medications overall: 12 percent regularly or occasionally
— Forgetting to take prescribed blood pressure or cholesterol medication: 21 percent regularly or occasionally
However on a positive note, 76 percent regularly or occasionally get annual check-ups, and 79 percent have their blood pressure or cholesterol regularly or occasionally checked.
Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Awareness of Aspirin Benefits
Americans tend to rate themselves as somewhat or very knowledgeable about the risk factors associated with heart attacks (83 percent) and strokes (74 percent). Survey respondents also were knowledgeable, having heard or read about, the benefits of aspirin for protecting against another heart attack (94 percent) or stroke (75 percent), and helping save your life if taken during a heart attack (82 percent).
Among the group of patients identified as being at elevated CV risk, 50 percent had spoken with their physician or healthcare professional about taking low-dose aspirin for preventing heart attack or stroke, were advised to take it, and to take it regularly. But, surprisingly, 20 percent of those at elevated risk had never discussed the benefits of low-dose aspirin with a healthcare provider.
Furthermore, among all survey respondents who had spoken with their physicians and been advised to take aspirin (36 percent), about one-sixth were not currently taking it. The most common reasons cited for not following their doctor's orders suggested patients were in denial about their need for aspirin, or simply were forgetful. Specifically, 26 percent of these respondents felt they didn't really need it, 37 percent cited forgetfulness, and 37 percent cited no particular reason.
"While this survey indicates broad knowledge about the benefits of taking low-dose aspirin, aspirin continues to be underutilized by doctors and patients. This is an important problem that must be addressed," said Dr.
The cornerstone role of aspirin in preventing CV events continues to be supported and reinforced by the global scientific community, through multiple international and national medical guidelines. Recognizing the issue of underutilization, the American Medical Association recently passed a resolution to increase education among physicians on the importance of appropriate aspirin counseling for the prevention of heart attack and recurrent stroke.
Surveys were conducted
About World Heart Day
Heart disease is the world's No. 1 killer, claiming 17.5 million lives each year. That's why World Heart Day was created, to increase public awareness of the risk of heart disease and to promote preventive measures. World Heart Day 2008 will be held
Aspirin, life-tested for generations, is one of the most extensively studied drugs in history and boasts extensive clinical experience; it has an enviable 110-year track record of efficacy and safety across a range of doses. More than 200,000 patients have been studied in more than 200 randomized clinical trials evaluating aspirin efficacy and safety across a broad range of cardiovascular disease (CVD) indications. Aspirin is recognized as cornerstone therapy for reducing risk of (CVD) events, including, but not limited to, heart attack and ischemic stroke, based upon clinical studies and extensive clinical, real world, experience.
The cornerstone role of aspirin continues to be supported and reinforced by the global scientific community, through multiple international and national medical guidelines recommending the use of low-dose aspirin for prevention of CVD events in both the primary and secondary settings. Aspirin, recognized worldwide as one of the most effective CVD therapies, is universally available and offers excellent value for its cost.
As with all drugs, aspirin is not for everyone. The determination of who is an appropriate candidate for aspirin therapy is a decision that must be made in consultation between doctor and patient. Patients should always talk with their physicians before starting or adjusting a low-dose aspirin regimen.
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The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen,
* Using respondent self reports on their personal health and a formula based in part on the Framingham Risk Calculator, a measurement tool that assesses an individual's risk profile using a series of factors, including age, gender, previous cardiovascular events, presence of risk factors such as high cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes, and other contributors such as smoking and family history of heart disease.
** Using population numbers for men over 40 and women over 50 from the U.S. census bureau 2007 international database. www.census.gov
(i) Kahn R, Robertson RM, Smith R, Eddy D. The impact of prevention on reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2008. Published online before print
(ii) Kahn R, Robertson RM, Smith R, Eddy D. The impact of prevention on reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes Care 2008;31:1-11.
(iii) National Commission on Prevention Priorities. Preventive Care: A National Profile on Use, Disparities, and Health Benefits. Partnership for Prevention,
SOURCE Bayer Consumer Care