As pharmacists are well aware, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Many times though, with a commitment to healthy lifestyle choices and a carefully-followed treatment plan, patients can reduce their risk of a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening condition. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates as many as 80 percent of cardiac events could be prevented if patients had information available about how to reduce their risk.
During February, which is designated as “American Heart Month,” healthcare professionals including pharmacists are encouraged to engage with patients about the importance of good cardiovascular health. This includes discussions to help patients control their blood pressure, manage cholesterol and blood glucose levels, exercise, eat healthier, reduce stress, quit smoking, and seek guidance from their healthcare providers.
Public health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are committed to helping by offering a number of resources. Pharmacists can access the CDC’s American Heart Month Toolkit, which provides direct access to materials including social media messages, downloadable graphics, patient quizzes, fact sheets, and video messages that can be posted to a website or social media channel.
Heart disease is a serious concern for all Americans. But Black adults are twice as likely as White adults to die from preventable heart disease, and among women, cardiovascular disease accounts for more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Pharmacists can help reverse this trend by reaching out to at-risk patients with timely information and a few words of motivation.