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NEW: Half of Adults Not Receiving Preventive Care

Thursday, June 14, 2012

 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study showing that half of U.S. adults were not getting crucial preventive health services before 2010.

These services, including screenings, consultations, and prescriptions from a health care professional, are key and can prevent tens of thousands of deaths, according to the CDC.

“Clinical preventive services prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer and other diseases and save lives,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This report provides a snapshot of preventive services for U.S. adults before 2010. As we look to the future, we can track how our nation’s health is progressing through better prevention in health care.”

The study, Use of Selected Clinical Preventive Services Among Adults, covered three years and took a comprehensive look at these priority services in the U.S. and shows figures before the Affordable Care Act, the health care law of 2010. The study focused on blood pressure, screenings for and controlling high cholesterol, and ending tobacco use.

Local cardiologist, Dr. Cynthia Ennis at UMass Memorial, hopes that this study will show the need for preventive measures against hearth disease and direct funding and attention to this issue.

"I think it's really an eye-opening study from my perspecti've. I thought we were doing a better job than this shows," she said. "It shows us we have a lot of work to do in terms of educating physicans on heart diease. In terms of heart diseease, they talk about all the key factors. It shows we're not doing a good job on any of those fronts. It helps us undertsand where we're not meeting standards and puts focus on where funding needs to go." Ennis stressed the benefit of education.

"We can save billions in healthcare and save lives if these preventive steps are taken," Ennis said. She is also the Director of the Women's Heart Health Center at UMass.

Heart Disease

Findings showed that of patients with heart disease primarily affecting the blood vessels only 47 percent were prescribed the recommended daily use of aspirin during visits to their doctors.

This figure and others on blood-thinning therapies goes against The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for the prevention of high blood pressure, which state that that adults 18 years old and older with high blood pressure should receive a clinical treatment plan that might include medications and monthly follow-up visits until healthy blood pressure is achieved, yet less than half (44 percent) of people with high blood pressure had it under control.

Cholesterol

Screenings for high cholesterol were well below healthy numbers – about 33.4 percent of men and 25.6 percent of women were not screened during the preceding 5 years.
Of those adults identified with high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, only about 32 percent of men and 32 percent of women had it under control.

Tobacco Use

According to data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Health Interview Summary, fewer than 1 in 13 tobacco users were prescribed medication to aid them ending tobacco use when they saw their doctor.

The CDC has many programs in place to address the issues of preventive measures, high blood pressure, cholesterol and tobacco use. They include Million Hearts initiative through which CDC and its partners work to provide effective treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco addiction. The initiative works to increase the number of clinicians who deliver appropriate counseling on the use of aspirin and other blood-thinning therapies for patients at high risk of heart attack or stroke.
 

 

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