Friday, November 30, 2007

Let's Talk Frank About Heart Disease, Frank

Most of us know the risks of heart disease and realize that it can cause death. Does knowing about heart disease affect our lifestyle choices such as the way we eat, whether we exercise, take medications, smoke? It appears not. However, a recent study indicates that adults at risk for heart disease are more likely to modify their behavior after having frank discussions with their doctor’s about heart disease than those who did not.

Patients prescribed to cholesterol medications often discontinue use because they do not believe the risk factors of high cholesterol necessarily affect them. Because of this, Dr. Steven A. Grover of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, decided to conduct a study to determine whether increasing patients’ knowledge of their heart disease risk profile might modify behavior in a positive, heart healthy manner.

According to Reuters,

“To find out, they randomly assigned 3,053 adults being treated for cholesterol problems to usual care or to receive a 1-page computer printout displaying their probability of developing heart disease in the next 8 years based on their current lifestyle, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other risk indicators.

During the study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the printout group also received ongoing feedback on how much they could cut their risk through lifestyle modification and drug therapy.

A total of 2,687 patients completed the 12-month study, and the researchers saw that those in the intervention group who kept track of their heart risk profile had small but significantly greater improvements in their cholesterol profiles.

The patients who were better educated about their heart risk profile were also more likely to reach cholesterol targets, the investigators found.”

Pretty interesting that once the risks are personalized, they become a reality for us. No more of the “that can’t happen to me mentality” because you realize that it can happen to you and will if you don't take care of yourself.

Just some food (heart healthy food of course!) for thought.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Have you considered the fact that this might work another way? I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
exactly the same in the past? Let me know your thoughts...