Integrative Cardiology PDF – Weil Integrative Medicine Library
Cardiovascular disease is the most prevalent chronic condition and most common cause of death in the United States. Treatment of cardiovascular disorders now consumes more than 10 percent of our health care expenditures (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2009 ). How did we get to where we are now—and where are we going?
Before World War II, nearly all patients with heart disease were diagnosed as “cardiacs” and treatment was essentially the same for all: a low salt diet, digitalis, and restricted activity. Over the ensuing decades, the marriage of medicine and technology has allowed the cardiologist to accurately diagnose and treat almost every possible type of heart disease.
As a result of these advances, heart disease mortality decreased by an incredible 64 percent from 1950 to 2005 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2008). From 1994 until 2004, deaths due to stroke and heart disease decreased by 25 percent. By comparison, cancer deaths decreased by only 5 percent during the same time period (Rosamond et al., 2007 ).
Th is incredible progress, resulting from the infusion of advanced technology into cardiac care, has come at a price. Th e first is the impact on health care costs. Th e high-tech treatment of heart disease is very expensive, and is one of the major causes of the escalation of health care costs, stranding millions of Americans with inadequate or no health insurance (Dalen and Alpert, 2008 ). Lack of adequate health insurance is a significant barrier to preventive health care in the U.S., and is one of the main reasons that the American health outcomes trail other Western nations (OECD).Th e World Health Association ranked U.S. health care 39th among 191 countries in 2000 (Blendon et al., 2001 ).
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