Good Health Habits Add Nearly Ten Years on Life; New Study Further Validates American Heart Association Initiative
DALLAS, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- People who maintain low blood pressure and cholesterol levels and who don't smoke can add six to nine-and-a-half years to their lives, compared to those who are less careful about their health, according to a recent study p
The study further validates the American Heart Association Pharmaceutical Roundtable's recent focus on compliance. Compliance is the prescribing of appropriate medical treatment including diet, exercise, smoking cessation and medication by the healthcare provider and the adherence to those treatments by the patient. The American Heart Association has identified noncompliance as a national hidden health threat. With the support of the Pharmaceutical Roundtable, the association has begun an aggressive compliance awareness and education campaign called the Compliance Action Program. The program is aimed at physicians, nurses, pharmacists, other allied health professionals and healthcare organizations, as well as patients. The Pharmaceutical Roundtable (PRT) is made up of seven of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Parke-Davis, Pfizer Inc., Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals Inc., Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, as well as American Heart Association volunteers and staff. The group provides an innovative forum that identifies and pursues common objectives to improve cardiovascular health in the United States through research, patient education and public and professional programs.
More than half of all Americans with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, don't follow their physician's medication and lifestyle guidance. Twelve percent of all prescriptions are never filled and more than half of all prescription medications are taken improperly. In addition, many patients are never given proper medical advice by their doctors. For example, seven out of 10 smokers visit a doctor each year; however, most are not advised to quit smoking or aided in their attempts to quit.
"This research on adding years to life is good news for all Americans," said Martha Hill, Ph.D., R.N., past president of the American Heart Association. "It shows that people who work with their healthcare providers to quit smoking and control their cholesterol and blood pressure can and do live longer, healthier lives. It is further proof that our work educating the public and healthcare professionals on the importance of healthy living and heart attack and stroke risk reduction can have a meaningful impact. In addition, it should be a catalyst for patients and healthcare providers to set and work together toward health goals. Our Compliance Action Program and patient education materials are a perfect place to start."
Two key elements of the program are the Physician's Compliance Tool Kit and a new patient brochure, "Knock Out America's Hidden Health Threat." The tool kit contains educational materials that healthcare providers can use to teach their patients how to follow a health regimen. It includes the American Heart Association's Primary and Secondary Prevention Guidelines, a compliance poster, a patient pledge form and a compliance booklet for patients titled "Knock Out America's Hidden Health Threat." The patient booklet contains consumer-friendly information on the benefits of compliance, compliance tips, an inventory of some compliance tools that are available in the marketplace, questions to ask the doctor, and a wallet card to track prescription medications, cholesterol level, blood pressure and weight. A tool kit for pharmacists is currently in development and will become available in early 2000.
The Physician's Compliance Tool Kit and the "Knock Out America's Hidden Health Threat" booklet can be ordered by faxing a request to the attention of "Knock Out America's Hidden Health Threat" to 214-706-5233, or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721). Professionals may request up to one Tool Kit and fifty (50) patient booklets for free. Compliance information, tips and tools for both professionals and patients are also available on the World Wide Web at www.americanheart.org/CAP.
With more than 4 million volunteers, the American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke, which annually kill about 959,000 Americans. For additional information on heart disease and stroke, visit the American Heart Association's web site at www.americanheart.org or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721). SOURCE American Heart Association