American Heart Month: Educating Your PatientsPosted: February 14, 2019 - By Kalena McElroy
When most people think of February, the first thing that comes to mind is Valentine’s Day, but there is another event this month that’s just as near to the heart. Each February, the country celebrates American Heart Month to help raise awareness for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide. A recent report found that nearly half of Americans live with some type of CVD and one in four deaths are attributed to the illness. Here are just a few ways you can promote American Heart Month and educate your patients about heart health.
Wear red during the month of February
Show your commitment to women’s health by wearing red this month alongside millions of other supporters. Go Red For Women is an initiative started by the American Heart Association that aims to shine a light on heart disease and stroke which causes the death of more females than cancer, diabetes, and accidents combined. Most people don’t know that women often have drastically different heart attack symptoms than men, with 64% having no symptoms at all.
Take to social media
Share relevant posts about CVD and American Heart Month to educate your followers and show that your practice really cares about the number one health issue in the country. Foster engagement by asking your followers to share their efforts towards better heart health, create a poll, and use trending hashtags like #WearRed or #HeartMonth to get the ball rolling. For a more personal touch, publish a photo of your team decked out in their red attire, or share how CVD has affected you or your loved ones.
Host a community event
Community events are a great way to promote your practice, build a positive local reputation, and drive awareness to an important cause. Keeping up an active lifestyle and eating clean benefits everyone, no matter their age, so why not build an event around these crucial CVD risk factors. Get people moving by organizing an athletic event like a fun run, swim, or flag football game in the name of heart health. Another idea is to plan a healthy cookout in your neighborhood. You may even get a new patient or two in the process.
Help patients set heart healthy goals
Most heart diseases are progressive and up to 80% preventable by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Take a few minutes to ask your patients if they have any long-term health goals in place to manage the risk factors associated with CVD. If not, offer to help them come up with a few feasible objectives that work with their lifestyle and devise an action plan to achieve them. As their doctor, your positive motivation may be just what they need to quit smoking, lose those extra pounds, or add more exercise to their daily routine leading to a longer, healthier life.
Send out wellness appointment reminders
Encouraging regular checkups is crucial in detecting health issues before they escalate, while also getting more patients through your door. Unhealthy weight, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are largely indicative of heart disease later on in life if not managed properly. Since there are no obvious symptoms of hypertension, people typically only check their blood pressure at the doctor’s office, yet it is a key factor in determining artery and heart issues that are also correlated to many other serious health problems. Combat CVD and increase the chances of early diagnosis and prevention with automated wellness appointment reminders. Easily set up automatic reminders for your patients to make sure they are receiving the care they need.
Use American Heart Month to draw attention to the severity of heart disease in the U.S., while stressing the importance of checkups and making healthy lifestyle choices. Although there has been progress over the years, one person still dies from CVD in the U.S. every 40 seconds. By educating your patients and spreading the word, you can make a difference in the fight to eliminate heart disease and stroke.