Cardiovascular disease is a leading public health issue. A heart attack strikes every 40 seconds in the U.S., which is almost 800,000 heart attacks every year.1 Despite being preventable, cardiovascular disease exacts a greater toll on America’s health than any other condition, accounting for personal and family disruption, loss of income, and medical care expenditures for Americans across many racial and ethnic backgrounds.2 For these reasons and more, Amgen is committed to bending the curve of cardiovascular disease.
As part of this commitment, Amgen has joined CDC Foundation, FH Foundation, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and Bayer to form the “Alliance for the Million Hearts Campaign.” The new collaboration supports the CDC Million Hearts Initiative goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2022 by focusing on changing the way people think about and embrace cardiovascular disease prevention – promoting simple and sustained steps that can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Amgen’s proactive approach to healthcare aiming to predict and prevent cardiovascular events remains vital as the pandemic continues to upend the lives of millions of people. COVID-19 has exposed several public health vulnerabilities, including cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that about 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 has cardiovascular disease, making it the most common underlying health condition.3 Those with heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies, may experience more serious complications if they contract COVID-19.4 Additionally, the virus may cause cardiac complications in patients, even if they lack a history of heart problems.5 With the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease currently unknown, the “Alliance for the Million Hearts Campaign” aims to empower more people to prevent heart attacks and strokes by educating on the risks and symptoms of heart disease and providing the tools and information patients need to stay healthy during these challenging times.
“Preventing heart disease is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society, and only by working together can we bend the curve of cardiovascular disease,” said Darryl Sleep, MD, Senior Vice President, Global Medical and Chief Medical Officer at Amgen. Amgen is excited to be a foundational sponsor of the Alliance for the Million Hearts Campaign to inspire action towards this goal.”
With a planned launch in 2021, the Alliance’s agenda setting campaign will focus on researching, developing and disseminating messages that change the conversation and activate key sectors to improve cardiovascular health and help prevent cardiovascular disease. The coalition also seeks to understand and inform the prevailing narrative related to heart disease, who it impacts and what can be done to improve heart health–individually and collectively, as well as empower audiences to understand and take the specific actions needed to improve their cardiovascular health.
“For a couple of years after my heart attack, I lived in fear that it might happen again,” said Laurie W., a heart attack survivor from Thousand Oaks, CA. “Then I decided to take control of my health. My cardiologist told me that it was important to lower my bad cholesterol and that it would make things better in the long run, so I changed my lifestyle. I adjusted my diet, and I started to exercise with my husband, an avid walker. My doctor told me that my cholesterol was one of the most important risk factors associated with another heart attack, so he put me on a treatment plan that works for me. This campaign will help reach and empower more people before they have another heart attack. That’s something to celebrate.”
Through the collaborative Alliance, Amgen can reach even more patients, inspiring them to seek the care they need to stay safe as this dynamic healthcare situation continues to unfold. By educating patients on the importance of addressing their heart health, the Alliance for the Million Hearts Campaign has the potential to improve and sustain the continuum of cardiovascular care, during the pandemic and beyond.
- Benjamin, EJ, et al. Circulation. 2019; 139: e56-e528.