February is American Hearth Month. Did you know Cardiovascular disease is your greatest health threat and leading cause of death in both men and women. Thankfully, this deadly disease can be largely preventable by controlling certain risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices.
The total estimate economic cost of cardiovascular diseases in the United States was about $200 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
According to the CDC, treatment of these diseases’ accounts for about $1 of every $6 spent on our country’s health care, a financial burden that is certainly felt by employers. The cost of a human life is even more surprising – approximately 630,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year, that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Here are a few ways you can determine if your employees have controllable risk factors for heart disease – and what you can do about it.
Almost 20% of all deaths from heart disease in the U.S are directly related to cigarette smoking. As an employer giving your employees access to a smoking cessation program can help them cut down the chances of developing coronary heart disease. Host a quit smoking day in February at the office and incentivize employees to participate.
An individual that is 20% or more above their ideal weight is at a higher risk for a whole host of health problems that are linked to heart disease- including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without it.
About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors for heart disease- high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking. Implementing a simple walking program at work with employees can help decrease multiple symptoms of heart disease. Or take it one step further and provide employees with on-site fitness classes and access to a dietician.
Stress is another factor in heart disease. If high levels of stress are sustained for long amounts of time it can cause emotional, psychological, and even physical problems- including chest pains, irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. Offering on-site yoga classes, meditation rooms or chair massages can help alleviate employee stress levels.
Knowledge is power! Offer your employees biometric screenings yearly to stay on top of systems that lead to heart disease. Hosting a lunch and learn in February with a cardiologist or dietician can educate your employees on measures to prevent heart disease. If you are interested in assistance with implementing a wellness program to keep your employees and their hearts healthy reach out to Movement 1st Wellness.