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American Heart Month

Survey Finds Many Americans are Unaware of Increasingly Prevalent Heart Disease Risk Factors

Mountain View, CA – While it is well known that eating healthy, regular exercise and managing stress are lifestyle choices that lower the risk of heart disease, a new national survey by El Camino Health reveals many Americans may be overlooking the danger posed to heart health by two increasingly prevalent factors: social isolation and mental wellness.

ECH Heart Survey Infographic

The survey, conducted by Ipsos, found two-third of Americans (68%) are unaware that social isolation is linked to heart disease, despite growing evidence it can increase a person's risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke. The survey also found only around half of Americans (53%) identified mental wellness as a risk factor. In comparison, the majority of Americans recognized nutrition (78%), exercise (81%), and stress (82%) are connected to heart health.

"As more and more people experience social isolation, loneliness and mental health struggles, it is important to recognize that risk factors for heart disease go beyond high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels," said Frederick St. Goar, MD, medical director at the Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute. "While it is vital to be proactive about your physical health, preventing heart disease requires a holistic approach that encompasses social and emotional well-being as well."

Implementing a whole health approach to heart disease prevention is a growing topic of conversation among cardiologists and will be a focus of this year's Heart Forum, an annual event hosted by El Camino Health to educate the community on the latest advances in heart health, prevention, and treatment. This year's Heart Forum will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024 on El Camino Health's Mountain View campus.

"As heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women, El Camino Health is committed to empowering our community with the tools, resources and knowledge to address their health concerns and live their best lives," said Josh Schreckengost, executive director at the Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute. "The Heart Forum is one way we do this by bringing together our world-class experts and the public for a meaningful discussion around heart disease, prevention, diagnoses, treatments, and more."

El Camino Health is locally trusted and nationally recognized as a leader in cardiovascular care. The Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute at El Camino Health was recently recognized as the fourth best heart-focused program in California and as one of America's 100 Best for Cardiac Care for the fourth year in a row by Healthgrades. In addition, our cardiac program was awarded 3 Stars from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons – the highest possible rating for the quality and patient outcomes in coronary artery bypass surgeries and mitral valve replacement surgeries.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Ipsos on the KnowledgePanel® from February 2 to February 4, 2024, and surveyed 1,021 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample and has margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact:

About El Camino Health

El Camino Health has served the communities of Santa Clara County for more than 60 years, with nationally recognized physicians and nurses at two not-for-profit acute care hospitals in Los Gatos and Mountain View, and primary care, multi-specialty care, and urgent care locations across the region. El Camino Health is dedicated to giving patients high-quality care utilizing the most advanced technology and research, delivering results first and respect always.

Aside from achieving outstanding patient outcomes, the hospitals have earned numerous awards for clinical excellence, including being named one of the World's Best Hospitals 2023 by Newsweek and becoming the San Francisco Bay Area's first Magnet hospital, earning four consecutive designations from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for nursing excellence.

Key service lines include cancer care, cardiovascular care, maternity care, mental health and addiction services, orthopedics, pulmonology, urology, and women’s health. Visit to learn more.

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