Hattiesburg Clinic participates in program to reduce risk of heart attack

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2016

One in three deaths are caused by heart attacks or strokes—making it the leading cause of death in the U.S. and a major contributor to disabilities, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

In an effort to combat these diseases, Hattiesburg Clinic was selected by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services to participate in a new national initiative called the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model.

As one of the 516 awardees across the nation, Hattiesburg Clinic will help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes among millions of Medicare beneficiaries, a Hattiesburg Clinic news release states.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It is important for all adults to reduce risk factors as much as possible. Risk factors include blood pressure control, cholesterol control, glucose control, weight control, tobacco avoidance, and decreased physical activity,” Bryan Batson, chief medical informatics officer and Hattiesburg Clinic’s spokesperson for the Million Hearts initiative said.

Through this program, participating practitioners will use a data-driven approach in assessing each patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke. Then they will develop prevention plans that will produce personalized risk scores and specific ways patients can reduce their risk factor.

“We believe this award is an exciting step forward for Hattiesburg Clinic as we navigate these new models of care while always continuing to strive to improve the health of our patients,” Batson said in the release.

Overall, approximately 20,000 health care practitioners and 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries will participate in the five-year model, according to the release.

Although heart attacks are more common in adults after the age of 60, Batson said adults aged 20 to 59 should be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke due to the significant number of heart attacks that occur in that range of age.

Heart attack symptoms include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Cold sweats also may occur, as well as discomfort in the center of the chest. Batson said this chest pain could feel like something very heavy on the chest and could also be a pressure that goes away and comes back. This can be associated with shortness of breath.

Symptoms of a stroke include facial drooping, numbness in the face, slurred speech and numbness in one arm.

People at risk for heart related diseases should be screened for blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other risk factors at least annually.

For additional information about the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Model visit https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/.