Clinician's Educational Strategies to Engage Patients in Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

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In today's world, there is a rise in the US population adopting unhealthy lifestyles that lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD).1, 2 Stroke and coronary heart disease are the two leading health conditions and leading cause of death in established countries. However, these two types of cardiovascular disease have identifiable risk factors that can be modified to reduce the risk of developing CVD.3 Additionally, due to an increase in the prevalence of obesity, primary prevention for CVD is catching the attention of many healthcare professionals.1, 2 Continuous support from providers regarding CVD prevention is necessary to increase low-risk behaviors in individuals that are especially at risk for CVD.1 It has been reported that introducing lifestyle changes at any point in a patient’s life, no matter what age, will lower the risk of coronary artery disease.4 Regardless of the large amount of information and management strategies available for this disease, the act of reducing the risk factors for CVD remains low in the populations who need it most.5 Pathophysiology Atherosclerosis is the most prominent cause of cardiovascular disease that leads to death in the US today.6 Atherosclerosis is described as blood vessel dysfunction and inflammation which leads to the accumulation of cellular debris within vessels. The buildup of debris causes hard plaque formation which eventually closes off vessels, leading to coronary events such as heart attack, stroke, and chest pain.7 Cardiovascular disease is a medical condition that takes years to progress and can be prevented or slowed if clinicians are proactive at early identification of risk factors.6 Risk Factors Risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and cause CVD can be reduced... ... middle of paper ... ... electronic skills, preferences, and lifestyle.19 Monitoring tools such as blood pressure logs, diet logs, exercise logs, and healthy eating hand-outs also allow patients to be involved and visually see their progress. Conclusion Risk factors for cardiovascular disease all come with specific healthcare components that need to be addressed. Patients often receive just over half of the necessary care and advice that is essential for CVD prevention.21 Resources such as EMR allows for patient education and the involvement of patients in their own health.19, 20 Additionally, recommending specific weight loss interventions and support systems have a positive impact on reducing risks of CVD.15,17,18 Providers that offer strategies to change behavior, such as exercise and nutrition are more successful at gaining patient participation than if no strategies are suggested.17

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