Heart attacks and strokes are the 1st and 4th leading causes of death in the United States each year. Everyday 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease in America. In addition heart disease and stroke are also among the leading causes of disability in our country, with more than 3 million people reporting serious illness or a decrease in the quality of life afterwards.
Many people may not even be aware that they are at a high risk for a heart attack or stroke. The Arc has taken the pledge to help increase awareness of cardiovascular disease by partnering up with Million Hearts. Million Hearts was created in attempt to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are co-leading this initiative, which hopes to raise awareness by educating people on the associated risks of heart attacks and strokes, encouraging exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet to reduce cholesterol and sodium intake. By learning the “ABCs” of preventing heart disease and stroke (Aspirin Therapy, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation) we can empower individuals to make healthier choices to reduce these occurrences. Million Hearts is bringing together a variety of public and private sectors to help spread their educational campaign across the country and find innovative ways to use technology and information sharing to promote these efforts.
Individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability are at an even higher risk than the rest of the population for heart attacks and stroke. It is shown that individuals with I/DD are less likely to maintain routine check-ups, receive the medical attention or medicines they need to sustain their health or have enough health knowledge to be aware of their own health disparities to make healthier choices. The Arc’s HealthMeet project is helping to educate and promote healthy behaviors, by providing free health assessments, educational webinars, trainings, and activities to increase fitness in hopes to create a change in individual’s lifestyles leading to fewer instances of heart attacks and strokes. Log on to The Arc’s HealthMeet page on our website to learn more about the project and access health resources that can help you put your heart’s health into your own hands.