Doctors said at a local health summit Monday that although heart attack is the lead cause of death in San Diego County and in the nation, the number of heart attacks in the county are dropping significantly.
Experts believe it is due to a collaborative effort of healthcare providers throughout San Diego such as Scripps, Kaiser, and community health clinics. Physicians have agreed to aggressively treat patients, keeping them on a strict medication routine and recommending diet and exercise as well.
Dr. Anthony DeMaria is a cardiologist with the Judith and Jack White Cardiology program at University of California, San Diego, and the chair of the Be There San Diego Health Collaborative, which initiated the program.
"Hospitalizations for heart attacks dropped 20% from 2011-2016 in San Diego County, saving $95 million in hospital healthcare expenditures," said Dr. DeMaria.
DeMaria said many doctors in San Diego have teamed up with health coaches that help to keep patients on track.
"They send them reminders by calling or texting them and ask the patients what is keeping them from getting their medication," explained Dr. Demaria. "Perhaps they don't have transportation to the doctor's office. We set them up with social services that can help them with that barrier."
Risks factors for heart attack include high blood pressure, smoking cigarettes and high blood cholesterol, added Dr. DeMaria.