Cardiovascular Disease: 1-2-3...7!

Article Categories: Cardiopulmonary & Diseases and Conditions

Every day, most Medical Assistants see patients with some type of cardiovascular (heart) disease. Not surprising, since heart disease is the leading cause of death for most people in the United States. As a Medical Assistant, you have the opportunity for face-to-face interactions with patients, and can easily give them information or provide education during their appointments.

A quick review of some facts can remind us about some of the important--and preventable--aspects of cardiovascular disease to share during patient visits.

How common is cardiovascular disease?

1. One in every four deaths is due to some type of cardiovascular disease
2. It’s the number one cause of death for both men and women
3. More women die from heart disease than all cancers combined

Can you give me some specific numbers about heart disease?

1. Heart disease strikes an American every 43 seconds
2. A stroke happens every 40 seconds
3. Someone dies of heart disease every 90 seconds

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

1. Half of all Americans with cardiovascular disease have one of these three risk factors: hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, or a history of smoking
2. Two other risk factors are being overweight or obese, and not exercising
3. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes

What’s the big deal about coronary artery disease (CAD)?

1. It’s the most common type of heart disease
2. Untreated CAD can cause heart attacks
3. It can also lead to heart failure and cardiac arrythmias

What are three tasks a Medical Assistant may perform for a patient with heart disease?

1. Conduct an electrocardiogram
2. Apply a Holter Monitor
3. Prepping patients for procedures

What questions can a Medical Assistant ask to assess a patient’s knowledge about heart disease?

1. “Besides chest pain, what are some others signs of a heart attack?”
2. “Do you know how to use the FAST test to recognize a stroke?”
3. “Can you explain to me about good and bad cholesterol?”

When doing patient education, what are the Heart Association’s “Simple 7” steps?

1. Manage blood pressure
2. Control cholesterol
3. Keep blood glucose normal
4. Exercise and be active
5. Eat healthy every day
6. Lose weight and keep it off
7. Stop smoking NOW

When you keep current on conditions that your patients are likely to have, you can make an impact on their lives and their health in just a few minutes. Your patients rely on you to be knowledgeable. When you can share a fact or determine a learning gap, you may be the one person who changes someone’s life.

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