The new year is a wonderful opportunity for your patients to make a brand new start—particularly when it comes to their health.
With staggering statistics like one in three American adults having prediabetes and an estimated 46 percent of U.S. adults having high blood pressure, it’s important that physicians partner with patients to take positive actions toward their health.
Here are five simple ways to help you maximize your patients’ health and make a concerted effort at management and prevention of such chronic diseases as type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
1. Educate your patients on their risk for prediabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 84 million adults have prediabetes. But the good news is that prediabetes is often times a reversible condition. So it’s important that you screen patients to determine who may be at risk.
To make it easier for physicians to screen patients, the CDC and the American Medical Association developed the Prevent Diabetes STAT toolkit. The toolkit encourages physicians to:
- Screen patients using a simple 1-minute risk assessment test, available online or in paper form
- Test patients using one of three blood tests and
- Act Today, which encourages physicians to refer patients with prediabetes to a lifestyle modification program to reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes
2. Encourage patients with prediabetes to enroll in lifestyle prevention programs.
Once you’ve identified patients who have prediabetes, their participation in a lifestyle change program that is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) becomes vital to their success.
Study results reveal that participation in a lifestyle change program that included counseling and motivation support on proper physical activity, diet and behavioral changes lowered participants’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. And for those aged 60 years and older, the risk was reduced by 71 percent.
Talk with your patients about how lifestyle change programs work and what the benefits of joining a DPP are. The Prevent Diabetes STAT toolkit includes helpful handouts and additional resources that can help you educate patients on the importance of it and how to partner with DPP providers in your community.
3. Learn how new BP guidelines affect your patient population.
New comprehensive hypertension guidelines have been released with key recommendations on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the condition.
The new lower target for blood pressure treatment is now 130/80 mmHg for most patients, which stresses the need for early detection, prevention and treatment to reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events.
By better understanding how the new guidelines work in practice, you can best serve your patient population and help to keep high blood pressure under control.
4. Help patients control their high blood pressure.
If you’re committed to taking action to help manage your patients’ rates of hypertension, the BP Improvement Program can serve as a great resource.
This evidence-based guide highlights three critical areas:
- Measuring blood pressure accurately
- Acting rapidly with a clear treatment plan and
- Partnering with patients to enable them to self-manage their condition
When you work with your patients to improve their blood pressure control, you improve their quality of care and also help lower their risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
5. Make health a family affair.
As you encourage and support your patients in having a healthier lifestyle, it’s also important that they have the support of loved ones as well. Encourage all family members to work together to get healthy.
Suggest that they prepare healthy meals together, do fun physical activities together and spend time connecting as a family unit. That added support system makes it more likely that they will be successful and reinforces the importance of health for the rest of the family and encourages healthy habits that will last throughout the year.