S22 • FEDERAL PRACTITIONER • JULY 2017 www.fedprac.com
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of
death in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of
hospitalization and disability in the VA. It also is associated with other comorbid conditions that impact
veterans, such as diabetes mellitus (DM), spinal
cord injuries, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Most heart attacks are due to smoking, high
cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, DM, diet,
lack of exercise, high alcohol use, and stress. Many
of these risk factors trend higher for veterans. Some
veterans also are at higher risk due to exposure to
hazardous materials. For example, veterans with
ischemic heart disease who were exposed to Agent
Orange or other herbicides during military service
do not have to prove a service connection.
Currently the VA Office of Research and Development is sponsoring more than 70 clinical trials covering cardiovascular disease, ranging from using
veteran peer coaches who promote cardiac health to
robotic training for stroke neurorehabilitation.
In the U.S.
a heart attack
is the number 1 cause of death in the U.S.,
dies of a
killing 787,000 in 2013