February is American Heart Month

by pharmacy on February 4, 2015

heart-month-februaryHeart disease remains the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. One in four deaths is caused by heart disease. The good news is that heart disease can be prevented by encouraging people to make healthy choices and manage their current health conditions. As pharmacists, you can work together with your patients and the community to provide opportunities that allow people to make healthier choices.

Use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention in your local community.

  • When speaking with patients, encourage them to make small changes in their lifestyle, such as using spices to flavor their food rather than salt, or adding more physical activity to their daily routine.
  • Reach out to teachers and school administrators in your local community to ensure physical activity is part of the school day. Help students develop those good habits early.
  • Talk to doctors and nurses in your local area about any current heart disease prevention campaigns and offer assistance. Partner with the local hospital if possible.

With the toolkit available from the Department of Health and Human Services at HealthFinder.gov, pharmacies have all the tools they need to make raising awareness about heart disease easy. Check out these other ideas:

  • If your pharmacy regularly sends out a newsletter to patients, or include pamphlets with prescriptions, add information about how patients can live a healthy lifestyle. The toolkit includes a number of additional resources where you can find more information to share with patients.
  • Include a badge on your pharmacy’s official website.
  • If your pharmacy uses social media, tweet about American Heart Month and post on Facebook about it.
  • Sponsor a community event that allows families to come together and learn about how to live a heart healthy lifestyle as well as local health resources available to them. Consider offering free screenings for cholesterol and blood pressure. If your pharmacy cannot offer these three screenings directly, make sure attendees know where they can go to get the screenings at little or no cost to them.
  • Join the American Heart Association’s national campaign to support healthier communities.

In addition to doctors and nurses, pharmacists remain a trusted source of information for patients. Use the power you have to support knowledge and education about heart disease care and prevention. While you’re at it, assess your own personal risks for heart disease and make any necessary changes in your own diet and lifestyle.

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