Million Hearts

Save your heart, take the Million Hearts pledge, and celebrate American Heart Month

What is Million Hearts?

Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are the co-leaders of Million Hearts within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working alongside other federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Food and Drug Administration. Key private-sector partners include the American Heart Association, and YMCA, among others.

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Million Hearts aims to improve heart disease and stroke prevention by:

  • Improving access to effective care.
  • Improving the quality of care.
  • Focusing more clinical attention on heart attack and stroke prevention.
  • Increasing public awareness of how to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Increasing the consistent use of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) Affect the Heart and the Circulatory System. CVDs Include:

Coronary heart disease is a reduction of blood flow due to thickening and hardening of the arteries that supply the heart muscle. A complete cut off of the blood supply results in the death of heart cells, and a heart attack occurs. A common symptom of coronary heart disease is angina – chest pain or discomfort when an area of the heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen.

Heart failure occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) – The Leading Killer and Disabler

CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States and in NYS. CVD is no longer thought of as a disease that primarily affects men as they age. It is a killer of people in the prime of life, with more than half of all deaths occurring among women.

In New York State, CVD killed almost 59,000 residents in 2007. For every person who dies from a heart attack, 18 people survive. For every person who dies from a stroke, seven people survive. Many of these survivors are disabled and cannot lead productive lives. They also are at high risk for additional heart attacks or strokes. While heart disease deaths have been decreasing, heart failure-related hospitalizations jumped from just over 1 million to nearly 4 million between 1979 and 2004.

Stroke is a leading cause of premature, permanent disability among working-age adults in the United States. Stroke alone accounts for the disability of more than a million Americans. The economic impact of CVD and stroke on the health system will grow as the population ages.

Costs of Cardiovascular Disease

In 2008, the total cost for cardiovascular disease (direct costs plus lost productivity due to illness or death) in New York State was estimated to be $32.6 billion (based on an extrapolation from national data).

Major Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Risk factors are behaviors or conditions that increase your chance of getting a disease. The major risk factors for CVD include physical inactivity, poor diet, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight/obesity, and diabetes.

NYSDOH's Efforts to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

The New York State Healthy Heart Program (HHP) works to reduce premature death and disability from CVD by making it easier to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and receive evidence-based health care (health care that is based on the best information available).

Local community-based programs are funded in many counties around the state to control and reduce the major risk factors for CVD and to improve treatment for those with CVD or risk factors.

Core messages about what builds strong and healthy hearts have reached into every New York county:

  • be tobacco-free,
  • eat more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products,
  • be moderately active for at least 150 minutes or vigorously active for 75 minutes per week, and
  • get your blood pressure and blood cholesterol under control.

Learn More About Cardiovascular Disease