In an attempt to discover efficacious and safe treatments for COVID-19, the scientific community has been repurposing existing medications with proven track records. One of these established medication classes is statins – which have an excellent record as safe and affordable therapies. Ongoing research is examining the broader use of statins in COVID-19 patients with current evidence suggesting they may lower mortality rates and the incidence of severe complications.
Despite the extensive literature and research that indicates the preventability of cardiovascular disease, it remains a primary and leading cause of not only mortality & morbidity, but also a tremendous health care cost and economic burden. A Vital Signs report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited that in 2016 alone, myocardial infarction, strokes, heart failure, and other largely preventable cardiovascular conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations, 415,000 deaths, and $32.7 billion in costs.
The researchers that conducted the findings estimated that “without preventative interventions, approximately 16.3 million events and $173.7 billion in hospitalization costs could occur during 2017–2021.” Moreover, a second Vital Signs report pulled data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and the National Health Interview Survey to assess and analyze the pervasiveness and prevalence of critical, key cardiovascular disease risk factors. Researchers found that 54 million adults are smokers, and could likely benefit from smoking cessation interventions. 71 million adults are not engaging in physical activity, and thus more prone to cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, millions of adults are not taking aspirin as recommended; 39 million adults are not managing their cardiovascular disease risk through suggested statin use; and 40 million adults are living with uncontrolled hypertension.
Quoted in an article published in the American College of Cardiology, Janet S. Wright, MD, FACC—executive director of Million Hearts, a national initiative co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, initially designed as a preventive measure to combat one million heart attacks and strokes by the year 2022—”Small changes–the right changes, sustained over time–can produce huge improvements in cardiovascular health.”