Cardiovascular disease refers to diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and includes conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, rheumatic heart disease and hypertension. Dr. Valentin Fuster, Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital has joined a panel of international experts at the United Nations where he spoke about promoting cardiovascular health worldwide and how the practice of medicine will change to reflect an increase in ambulatory care.
The meeting focused on health and well-being and the comprehensive treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Dr. Fuster said, "We are starting to experience a significant change in the way we deliver cardiovascular medicine with a focus on promoting health over treating disease. As a result, we should expect to see a rise in ambulatory care and shorter hospital stays. This transition will require that cardiovascular specialists and health care workers are trained in ambulatory and home-based care."
‘Dr. Fuster suggested that the world has started to experience a significant change in the delivery of cardiovascular medicine. It now focuses on promoting health over treating disease. This could lead to a rise in ambulatory care and shorter hospital stays.’
In 2010, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed a committee, chaired by Dr. Fuster, which produced a report, entitled 'Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World'. This report stressed the importance of health promotion during a person's lifetime and the significant economic burden that cardiovascular disease places on our society. The researchers proposed a stratified approach at three different age ranges in a person's life to effectively promote cardiovascular health.
The first approach to stratified health is during the first 25 years of life, with the optimal period of time to motivate healthy behavior between three to five years old. The second opportunity for stratified health is within the age range of 25 to 50 years old, when non-invasive imaging techniques can be used to detect potential future heart health issues. The third opportunity occurs at 50 years and upward, when cardiovascular disease has often begun.
Dr. Fuster said, "At every age range, there are scientific, psychological, and disease specific variables to consider, as well as different educational and behavioral tools to use to promote cardiovascular health globally. My years of research strongly support early education intervention and the need for a stratified approach to health promotion worldwide."
Since 2009, Dr. Fuster had worked with nearly 100,000 preschool-aged children, ages three to five, in Madrid, Spain and Bogot; Colombia to demonstrate that early health education can have long-lasting heart healthy effects. Under Dr. Fuster's leadership, Mount Sinai Heart of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is launching a similar program in the United States in eight New York City (NYC) Harlem preschools with children aged three to five, along with their parents and caregivers, known as The FAMILIA Project.
The Project, made possible by a $3.8 million grant from the American Heart Association (AHA), is scheduled to begin in November 2015. Mount Sinai has partnered with NYC's Administration for Children's Services (ACS), Division of Early Care and Education Head Start programs to teach young children, their parents, and caregiver's ways to reduce their risk factors of developing cardiovascular diseases, while also decreasing the growing obesity epidemic. The Project's programming will focus on child, adult, peer group, and individual health interventions.