Prevention

Prevention is often the most effective way to improve health and control health care costs. For example, reductions in the prevalence of high blood pressure, excess weight, and cholesterol risk factors can result in substantial savings each year. [12-13] Every HIV infection prevented results in an estimated $355,000 of savings in the cost of providing lifetime HIV treatment. [14] The Affordable Care Act established the National Prevention Council and called for the development of the National Prevention Strategy to move the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on prevention and wellness. Preventing illness allows children to attend school and workers to be more productive and innovative. [15-17] This dashboard tracks preventive interventions that address some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The national summary data for the measures that comprise this dashboard are presented below.

Percentage of Adults with High Blood Pressure Whose Hypertension is Adequately Controlled

Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, particularly if it is not controlled.

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Percentage of People Living with HIV Who Know They are Infected

Testing is critical to link people with HIV to medical care and support so that they can live healthier lives. People who are unaware of their infection are 3.5 times more likely to transmit HIV than people who are aware of their infection.

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Percentage of Adults with High Cholesterol Whose LDL Cholesterol Levels are Adequately Controlled

High cholesterol can double a person's risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US. A simple blood test can detect levels of LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol, and treatment and lifestyle changes can prevent high cholesterol or keep it under control.

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Percentage of People Aged 6 Months and Older Receiving Seasonal Influenza Vaccine in the Prior 12 Months

Acute respiratory infections, including influenza and pneumonia, are the eighth leading cause of death in the US. The best way to protect against flu is annual vaccination. 

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Percentage of Adults Who Receive Colorectal Cancer Screening as Appropriate

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Sixty percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with regular testing of adults age 50 years and older, but current screening rates are low.

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Percentage of Primary Care Physician Office Visits that Include Depression Screening

Depression affects 1 in 10 U.S. adults. People with depression have higher rates of chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes, increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity. Early screening is important because symptoms usually improve with treatment and therapy.

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