Heart Disease In The Workplace – A Silent Killer That May Be Killing Your Bottom Line!


With 1 in 3 Americans experiencing high blood pressure, chances are good that a significant number of your employees are suffering from this silent yet deadly disease.  Four out of the 10 most expensive health conditions for U.S. employees relates to the heart1:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Chest pain


More than half of those suffering with high blood pressure don’t have it under control!  In an analysis of insurance claims of about 4 million individuals from large U.S. companies, annual average payments for heart related claims were $4,639 per patient, more than double the average payment of $2,230 for all conditions examined.2


There are a number of ways organizations can help employees gain better control of this disease, thus reducing the risk for stroke and heart attack.   Holding regular biometric screenings onsite that measure employee blood pressure and cholesterol levels are a great first step, but education shouldn’t stop there.  Heart health promotion should be a continual process so that employees can achieve optimal control.  Here are just a few ways that you can promote a heart healthy workplace year-round:

  • On site nutritional counseling classes targeted to reduce cholesterol levels as well as counseling for the management of diabetes and hypertension
  • Smoke–free policies
  • Health education classes and support groups with individual goal setting
  • Low–cost heart healthy food options in the work-site cafeteria along with point–of–purchase nutrition information
  • Places for physical activity: marked walking paths, signage to encourage stair use, health clubs/gyms
  • Regular contact with employees through campaigns, emails, posters, etc. that reinforces heart health education. Employees need to perceive that the company cares about them and their health.


You can also contact your state and local heart disease and stroke prevention programs for assistance, and these national organizations:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention:  www.cdc.gov/cvh

American Heart Association:  www.americanheart.org

American Stroke Association:  www.strokeassociation.org



1 Goetzel, J Occup Environ Med. 2003; 45(1):5014

2 Goetzel, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45(1), 5-14, 1999.

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