We’re lucky to have support from the National Institute of Health Funding (NIH), the world leader in medical research, conducting clinical trials and investigations into the causes, treatments and cures for heart disease and stroke in women. In 2011 alone, the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute invested $246.7 million in clinical research related to women with heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and an additional $1.5 billion in basic CVD research that benefits women and men equally.
NIH research has led to life-saving discoveries. Although heart disease remains the leading cause of death nationwide, the death rate for heart disease has dropped by more than 60% since 1940. But research relies on funding – funding that is at risk for being cut by about 8 percent on March 1, 2013, unless the President and Congress act to turn off the sequestration or automatic across-the-board budget cuts. While NIH invests only 4 percent of its budget on heart research and 1 percent on stroke research, it remains the single largest source of funding for CVD research. Putting that funding at risk would jeopardize the NIH’s ability to support promising studies that could lead to new treatments, prevention strategies and even cures. Previous successes include:
- Drugs to dissolve blood clots and lower cholesterol
- Pacemakers and implantable and external cardiac defibrillators
- Minimally invasive surgical techniques
- Artery widening stents
- The first totally implantable permanent artificial heart
- Rehabilitative therapy that allows partially paralyzed stroke survivors to regain function
Now imagine the future, when personal gene chips will predict your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, kidney, and heart disease or when doctors will routinely use minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to pre-empt heart disease.
That’s why Go Red For Women and the American Heart Association are working hard to protect the NIH from these devastating cuts – the lives of women depend on it. We’re joining the medical research community in advocating against cuts in the NIH so researchers can continue to make strides in heart and stroke research though innovation and advances in science. You can help, too, by asking your Members of Congress to protect the NIH by responding to the AHA’s action alert. Please visit this page to take action.
Here’s what can be accomplished with additional funding:
- Advances in cardiovascular care can help reduce healthcare costs. Technological improvements in treating heart attacks and preventative measures, like taking an ordinary aspirin, came about because of NIH-supported research. Imagine if the funds were no longer available to support the discovery of such vital information. Where would we be?
- We’ll get closer to finding a cure for heart disease in women. Over the past 40 years, 153 new FDA-approved drugs, vaccines and new indications for current drugs were discovered by NIH-supported research. Without funding, progress will come to a halt.
- More jobs can be created, leading to economic growth and stability. Cuts won’t just cripple heart health research, they will add to an already fragile economy. In 2011 alone, NIH funding supported more than 432,000 jobs and generated more than $62 billion in economic activity. With spending cut of roughly 8 percent, we could see 33,000 fewer jobs and a $45 billion decline in the economy.
For more information on the NIH and how their research promotes economic growth and heart health, download this fact sheet.