February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. This month is designed to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three deaths in the US is caused by heart disease and stroke.
Your friends at Tria Health want you to understand your personal risks, and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourselves and your loved ones.
Know Your Personal Risk Factors
Knowing your numbers could potentially save your life! We encourage you to talk to our clinicians or another healthcare provider about your personal risk factors for heart disease.
- Blood Pressure Below 120/80
- Blood Sugar fasting blood sugar of less than 100
- Body Mass Index less than 25
You Have the Power to Control Some of Your Risk Factors
There are many risk factors for heart disease, some within your control and others outside your control. The risks you CAN control include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Lack of regular activity
- Obesity or overweight
The risks outside your control are:
- Family History
- Previous heart attack or stroke
How to Live Healthy
The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:
- Eat Smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat.
- Add Color: Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables.
- Move More: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health.
- Be Well: Create balance, vitality and wellbeing through self-care.
If you would like more tips from the American Heart Association, visit: https://healthyforgood.heart.org/
This month, and always, we hope that you better understand your risks of heart disease, and what you can do to take better care of your heart.
Wear Red and Raise Awareness About Heart Disease for Women
National Wear Red Day is February 2nd. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement that advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The movement also challenges people to know their risk for heart disease and act to reduce their personal risk.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk
Not only can you wear red to raise awareness but you can also take steps to reduce your own risk. The American Heart Association has developed an online tool called My Life Check. My Life Check allows you to find out your heart score and see if you’re at risk based on Life’s Simple 7:
- Managing your blood pressure
- Control your cholesterol
- Reduce your blood sugar
- Get Active
- Eat Better
- Lose Weight
- Stop Smoking
Find out Your Heart Score
Tria Health Helps Control Heart Disease?
Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!
Questions? Call 1.888.799.8742 or visit www.triahealth.com.
Wear Red and Support Heart Health!
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 30 million Americans, including 8.1 million people who are undiagnosed. Another 86 million more—one in three adults—have prediabetes and 15-30 percent will develop diabetes within five years without change.
The Scary Statistics
- People with type 2 diabetes have more than two times the risk for developing heart disease
- People with diabetes live 7-8 years less
- Two out of three deaths in people with type 2 diabetes are attributed to cardiovascular disease
- Less than half of people with diabetes are aware of their risk of cardiovascular disease. This lack of awareness prevents people with diabetes and their health care providers from addressing risks and improving health.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease states that “the increased co-occurrence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease demands greater awareness to save lives and health care dollars.”
At Tria Health, that’s precisely what we do—we manage the whole patient, and discuss all their conditions, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and their lifestyle. Our pharmacists educate their patients about their medications and make recommendations to the patients and their prescribing physicians to improve clinical outcomes.
A Tria Health Patient Success Story
During an initial pharmacist consultation, it was documented that the patient’s HgbA1c was too high – indicating poorly controlled Diabetes. In addition, the patient had significant financial difficulties affording certain medications increasing medication non-adherence. The patient was initially prescribed Metformin, but stopped taking the medication due to stomach problems without replacing it with any other diabetes medication. The pharmacist recommended a prescription of Glimepiride since it is inexpensive, very effective, and generally well tolerated. The patient’s physician agreed with the recommendation and the patient has achieved a HgbA1c of 8% in one year
In addition, the Tria pharmacist recommended switching from brand-named Benicar-HCT, a blood pressure medication, to a similarly available generic blood pressure medication called Losartan-HCTZ. The generic version saved the member $40 every 30 days and the patient’s blood pressure remains well controlled on Losartan-HCTZ.
The patient initially had success and then set-backs with smoking cessation. The Tria pharmacist worked with them to achieve sustained smoking cessation and improved health by identifying appropriate therapies and by providing ongoing education and coaching.
This success story illustrates that by managing the whole patient, and all their conditions, can and will improve clinical and financial outcomes.
Did you know…
- WOMEN are more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than any other condition
- 1 in 3 women die of a heart attack or stroke
- Heart disease and stroke are 80% PREVENTABLE
National Wear Red Day marks the start of American Heart Month and encourages women to become informed and involved to change this statistic. It is meant to encourage all of us to understand our risks for heart disease and stroke and if needed start making changes to lower these risks! Women are faced with many demands and little time, but it is important that we take time to care for ourselves as well as our family!
Why Do I Wear Red?
My father was diagnosed with heart disease when he was 45 years old. We have been blessed that he has not suffered complications and manages his heart disease with diet, exercise, and medications. His early heart disease, however, increases my risk of developing heart disease and that is something I can’t change. I can change other risk factors though through healthy living: not smoking, avoiding fast food, and exercising regularly to help keep my blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure low. Some days it’s difficult to find the time or the will-power and I slip up, but I strive to make those days number very few. My sister and I are aware of our risks for heart disease and we try to help each other live well and challenge each other to be more active! We will be part of the change and work to prevent heart disease in women. So get out your red dresses, shirts, shoes, and accessories to celebrate National Wear Red Day and spread the word!
Heart Disease encompasses many cardiovascular conditions including: heart attack, heart failure, heart valve problems and irregular heart rhythms. Many of the conditions are due to atherosclerosis, or narrowing and hardening of arteries due to plague build up. Plague is a sticky, cholesterol containing substance that can slow or stop blood flow through arteries if build-up becomes so large that a clot develops or breaks loose. When this happens in the heart it can result in a heart attack; when this happens in the brain a stroke can occur. Take the online Go Red Heart CheckUp assessment developed by the American Heart Association to find out your specific risks!
Written by Tria Health Pharmacist Jamie Killion