Heart Survivor, Amanda Rowell from Norman recently submitted a letter to the editor in her local newspaper to urge Representative Tom Cole to include a $2 billion increase for the National Institute of Health and a $6 million increase for the Center for Disease Control’s heart disease and stroke prevention programs in Congress’s final 2018 health spending bill. We wanted to share her heartfelt message with you.
To the Editor:
As a heart disease fighter, I know first-hand the devastating effects of heart disease and stroke. I was a brand-new mommy who had just delivered a baby when I suffered a heart attack all at the young age of 32. I was given a 5% chance of living. My story is not uncommon. In Oklahoma alone, heart disease accounts for more than 10,000 deaths each year. In 2014, stroke was the 5th leading cause of death for Oklahomans, accounting for more than 1 of every 20 deaths.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the No. 1 and most costly killer in the United States, projected to cost more than $1 trillion annually by 2035. Yet, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) still invests only 4 percent of its budget in heart research and 1 percent in stroke research. More investment in CVD research is needed if we are to ever find a cure for these devastating diseases.
In addition to medical research, evidence-based state and local prevention programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are crucial in the fight against heart disease and stroke because these conditions are largely preventable. The potential impact of these CDC programs is not fully realized because federal support for them continues to be insufficient.
Congress can address these issues by allocating more robust funding for both the NIH and the CDC.
I urge Representative Tom Cole to include a $2 billion increase for the NIH and a $6 million increase for the CDC’s heart disease and stroke prevention programs in Congress’s final 2018 health spending bill.
With this support, we can help save lives not only in our state, but across the nation.
American Heart Association Advocate