Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cut heart disease events 75% by following guidelines

As many as 2 million cardiovascular adverse events could be prevented each year if patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure were diagnosed and prescribed the proper regimens, and if these patients adhered to their treatments.

Scientists analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers used the Framingham Heart Study risk algorithm, which estimates total coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.

"We projected the 10-year risk of heart disease and the number of heart disease events, and what would happen if blood pressure were normalized."

Approximately one-fifth to one-half of coronary heart disease events could be prevented in US adults if hypertension was controlled. "This increases to 55% to 68% of coronary heart disease events preventable with additional optimal control of lipids.

If patients controlled blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, a 75% decrease in the number of coronary heart disease events in the United States may oocur.

The Framingham Risk Assessment tool. Are you at risk?
See the fascinating Framingham timeline.

What drives compliance? What type of prodding is needed for individuals to take medications regularly? Mail and telephone reminders to encourage patients to take their prescription medication as directed may be a pointless exercise, a study suggests.

"According to patients, the telephone and postal reminders did very little to improve their compliance or encourage risk-reducing lifestyle changes." Doctor-patient relationships drive compliance, not postal and telephone reminders."

Tell your doctor to get on your case. His or her work may still be needed once you leave the office. It's likely that he or she has needed the motivation from others at some time in their lives, too.


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