Nurse Practitioners Encourage Heart-to-Heart Conversations to Prevent Heart Disease
AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One in three U.S. adults lives with hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and only 54 percent of those diagnosed with the disease have their blood pressure in check.
To combat this alarming trend and in recognition of American Heart Month, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is teaming up with Million Hearts®, an initiative co-led by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. In 2017, with the theme of "Heart to Heart," AANP and Million Hearts® are urging young adults to take four important steps to improve their families' heart health. These include: conversations with family members, heart-healthy eating habits, a daily commitment to physical activity and regular blood pressure and cholesterol screening with a trusted health care provider.
"Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of more Americans than cancer, respiratory diseases and accidents combined each year, and about one in every six health care dollars is spent on treating the disease," said AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP. "We want young adults – and all patients – to make heart health a personal priority and inspire their families to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease."
"Nurse practitioners are experts in holding important, 'heart-to-heart' conversations with patients and family members, addressing a variety of topics ranging from the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity to helping patients adhere to their heart disease medication regimens," said Janet Wright, MD, Executive Director, Million Hearts®. "We look forward to continuing to work with AANP to spread the word about the importance of these conversations throughout American Heart Month and beyond."
AANP encourages adults to monitor their heart health on a regular basis in consultation with their nurse practitioner or other health care provider and to follow a heart-healthy diet that reduces sodium intake and includes foods that naturally help lower blood pressure, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Exercise is also an important aspect of maintaining heart health and reducing blood pressure, and nurse practitioners suggest patients aim for 30-minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week, such as walking, jogging, or biking. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduces risk of diabetes.
For patients already diagnosed with hypertension, medication can play a critical role in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Nurse practitioners encourage patients with hypertension to self-monitor their blood pressure regularly, adhere to medication instructions and maintain a regular dialogue and care regimen with their NP or another trusted health provider.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 222,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP membership includes over 73,000 individual members and 200 organizations. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.
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SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners