TN heart disease and stroke prevention, care plan offers road map for saving lives


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) - The Tennessee Department of Health, in association with the American Heart Association, has developed a comprehensive strategy to address the burden of heart disease and stroke in Tennessee. The Tennessee Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Care Plan presents health care providers, community leaders, business organizations, school officials and individuals throughout the state with a road map for action to reduce disability and death from heart disease and stroke.

“Heart disease and stroke take a deadly toll on our state, and claim
thousands of Tennessee lives every year,” said Commissioner of Health
Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “We know lifestyle choices such as smoking,
poor nutrition and lack of exercise, contribute to these diseases. The
good news is that there are simple steps each of us can take to help
reduce our risk of developing these conditions. This new plan is a tool
that can help put us all on the path to longer, healthier lives.”

TDOH and the American Heart Association are working together as
strategic partners to effectively address the burden of heart disease
and stroke in Tennessee. The goals of the Tennessee Heart Disease and
Stroke Prevention and Care Plan are to:

●develop new resources and enhance the existing infrastructure by
bringing groups together and utilizing policy and environmental change
●prevent the development of heart disease and stroke risk factors
such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, poor diet,
lack of physical activity and smoking/tobacco use.
●promote early and aggressive treatment of heart disease and stroke
risk factors.
●ensure that all Tennesseans diagnosed with heart disease and stroke
receive aggressive treatment to prevent the exacerbation of heart
disease, subsequent events, associated complications, disabilities and
●work toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in
heart disease and stroke prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and
access to care.

In addition, the plan provides specific strategies for addressing heart
disease and stroke in priority populations, which address the
disparities that exist among African Americans in the areas of
prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and access to care. The plan also
contains policies for monitoring and evaluating the progress of its

“The American Heart Association works closely with the Tennessee
Department of Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program to
improve the system of care for patients suffering a heart attack or
stroke in any corner of our state,” said Jean Saunders, senior state
health alliance director for the American Heart Association. “The
state plan provides a road map to an ideal system of care in Tennessee.
These system improvements result in more people living healthy,
productive lives after a heart attack or stroke.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Tennesseans; stroke
is the third. Together, these conditions account for one out of every
three deaths in the state, and claim more than 20,000 lives in Tennessee
each year. In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available,
Tennessee ranked seventh in the nation for deaths from heart disease and
second for deaths from stroke, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.

The Tennessee Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Care Plan is
available to anyone interested in partnering to effectively address the
enormous burden of heart disease and stroke in Tennessee. An electronic
copy of the plan is available on the Department of Health’s Web site

(Information submitted by the Tennessee Department of Health.)

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