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 disease2. It’s the number one cause of death for both men and women3. More women die from heart disease than all cancers combinedCan you give me some specific numbers about heart disease?1. Heart disease strikes an American every 43 seconds2. A stroke happens every 40 seconds3. Someone dies of heart disease every 90 secondsWhat 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 smoking2. Two other risk factors are being overweight or obese, and not exercising3. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetesWhat’s the big deal about coronary artery disease (CAD)?1. It’s the most common type of heart disease2. Untreated CAD can cause heart attacks 3. It can also lead to heart failure and cardiac arrythmiasWhat are three tasks a Medical Assistant may perform for a patient with heart disease?1. Conduct an electrocardiogram2. Apply a Holter Monitor3. Prepping patients for proceduresWhat 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 pressure2. Control cholesterol3. Keep blood glucose normal4. Exercise and be active5. Eat healthy every day6. Lose weight and keep it off7. Stop smoking NOWWhen 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.