Rockville, Md. (February 16, 2022)—February is American Heart Month, a time for people to pay more attention to their cardiovascular health. The American Physiological Society (APS) member-experts studying cardiovascular disease are advancing our understanding and underscoring the critical role of cardiovascular research happening behind the scenes. Physiologists, including APS member-experts, are studying several areas such as cardiovascular disease in women, how lack of sleep affects heart health, and cardiovascular health in premature babies. The research is aimed at developing new and improved treatments, as well as eliminating or reducing some heart disease risks.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 650,000 people in the U.S. die each year from heart disease—about 1 in every 4 deaths, the CDC reports. The most common type of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD), the precursor to a heart attack. The annual cost of heart disease to the U.S. economy as of 2017 was $363 billion.  

There are many risk factors for heart disease, according to the CDC, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Unhealthy diet

APS has assembled a team of leading researchers to speak with science and health journalists about their cardiovascular research:

  • Andreas M. Beyer, PhD, FAHA, FCVS-APS, associate professor of medicine and physiology, co-director of cardio-oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin. His research focuses on microvascular function in patients with CAD or in cancer patients post-chemotherapy.
  • Licy L. Yanes Cardozo, MD, associate professor, University of Mississippi Medical Center. She studies cardiovascular disease in women, among other topics.
  • Jason R. Carter, PhD, professor, Montana State University. He is studying how lack of sleep from binge drinking affects heart health. Carter is a past Councilor of APS.
  • Melissa Bates, PhD, FAPS, assistant professor, University of Iowa. She conducts cardiovascular research in premature babies. Bates is chair of the APS Respiration Section.
  • Michael Sturek, MS, PhD, professor, Indiana University School of Medicine; adjunct professor, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; chair of the APS Cardiovascular Section and associate editor of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. He studies CAD and other subjects.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with any of the experts listed above, please contact the APS Media Relations or call 301.634.7314. Find more research highlights in our Newsroom.

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. The American Physiological Society connects a global, multidisciplinary community of more than 10,000 biomedical scientists and educators as part of its mission to advance scientific discovery, understand life and improve health. The Society drives collaboration and spotlights scientific discoveries through its 16 scholarly journals and programming that support researchers and educators in their work.