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Heart-attack Survivors Often Make No Changes

Theres no stronger scare tactic into leading a healthy lifestyle than suffering a heart attack or stroke, which is why it may be surprising that many survivors dont make changes needed to improve their health.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows one in four men doesnt make any lifestyle changes after a heart attack, stroke or other major cardiac event. Women were more likely to change unhealthy behaviors, and urban residents were more likely to make at least two lifestyle changes than those who lived in rural areas.

Three behaviors were included for the study: smoking cessation, healthy eating and physical exercise. Out of 7,519 patients surveyed in 17 countries, just 4.3 percent of participants improved their habits in all three areas, more than 30 percent made two lifestyle changes and more than 47 percent changed at least one lifestyle behavior to better their health.

Dr. Mark Friedman, a cardiologist at the SSM Heart Institute, said changing ones lifestyle can be very difficult.

Patients dont want to be talked down to, he said. They dont want to be told theyre bad.

But much of the problem is lack of education. While patients used to stay in the hospital for up to two weeks after a cardiac event, they now are discharged within a day or two. This leaves little time for the medical staff to educate patients on what happened to them and what it could mean for their future.

Friedman attempts to motivate patients by starting small. While the American Heart Association recommends walking for 30 minutes a day five times a week, the SSM cardiologist encourages his patients to begin with walking three days a week. He also recommends frozen fish and fruit for those on a low budget.

What really surprised Friedman about the study is that patients had the most success with smoking cessation more than 52 percent. People in wealthier countries had more success than those in poorer countries, the study showed. Friedman said higher income individuals are likely to have more education and resources to quit smoking.

The numbers pleased him, though, as Friedman said smoking cessation is one of the best ways to avoid heart disease. Still, he said he believes it is one of the hardest habits for his patients to cut, and they have to really want to stop for it to work.

Other changes include diet, with 39 percent reporting eating more healthful food, and physical activity, with 35 percent saying they were more active.

Urban area residents were 22 percent more likely in the study than those in rural areas to make at least two lifestyle changes. Friedman said this could again be because of more education and resources in cities. More physical activity was reported by people at all income levels.

Women were more likely than men to make lifestyle changes after a major cardiac event.

More than 7 percent of women made all three recommended lifestyle changes, compared to less than 2.5 percent of men. They were also 66 percent more likely than men to make at least two lifestyle changes, and more than 26 percent of men changed nothing compared to about 7 percent of women.

Friedman and his team do their best to educate victims of major cardiac events by bringing in dietitians and models that show whats happening in the patients body. Then they have a mandatory follow-up visit.

Deb Garbo, a nurse practitioner, sees patients shortly after their release from the hospital to prescribe medications and treatment. She said many people dont absorb what theyre taught in the hospital because theyre more focused on being released, so its her duty to reteach the patients everything.

Garbo assesses patients readiness to make changes. Sometimes they will tell her that they arent confident they can handle breaking a habit, so she doesnt force it on them.

A scared straight method that Garbo uses sometimes is she will ask the patients to hang a photo of their heart stent in their homes so they can look at it when theyre tempted to smoke a cigarette or eat unhealthily.

One way to succeed is to participate in a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program, she said.

At the heart institute, patients are overseen by a medical director for an hour three times a week for exercise and education. Amy Puricelli, a nurse at the St. Marys Health Center cardio rehab, said the patients she sees usually are genuinely trying to make changes.

However, only 10 percent to 20 percent of patients eligible for cardiac rehab actually sign up for the program.

Original Story Here

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Comments

  1. Reply

    What Exactly Is A Healthy Lifestyle And Is It The Same For Everyone? Does a healthy lifestyle depends on a person’s age, religion, etc?

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      • HealthNut
      • August 22, 2013
      Reply

      While we aren’t one size fits all, the tenets of a healthy lifestyle are those that we can all follow. It’s hard to go wrong with eating adequate calories composed of healthy foods. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low fat/nonfat dairy is suggested. Monitoring portions sizes and preparing food in a healthy manner is advised. Watch sodium intake as well and limit high sugar/high fat foods. Follow any diets that are recommended by your RD/MD with regard to specific disease states that you may have, such as diabetes, and take any medications as prescribed. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days per week, if able.

      View Comment
  2. Reply

    How The Computer Is Supporting Us In Our Healthy Lifestyle? How do computer helps people in their healthy lifestyle? How can The computer help people? Is it from websites? advertisements? I need it really badly. How can the computer is supporting to improve our healthy lifestyle. in what ways? How can computer promote the quality of healthy lifestyle. How can computer convince people to stop unnecessary things like drugs or alcohol? How can computer HELP us?
    AT least 6-8 points would do. thank you.

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • August 22, 2013
      Reply

      The computer is not a healthy lifestyle for people. It programs us to thinking we can find everything on here. Jobs, pay bills, shop, everything! We can do that ourselves and it seems technology is taking the chores away from us, that can be easily done by human themself. The computer can help us though when we need to find information, imformation fast. Websites help us retain information, advertisements are just like commericals there just trying to sell or maniupulate us to buy whatever their advertising. The computer is not improving our healthy lifestyle. Peoples eyes can go out of sight and hurt very badly(like mine and i’m only 15 years old.) from years and years staring at the computer. The worst thing to stare at is a computer screen — I don’t know why I still do it for hours at end, but I do. The computer will never promote the quality of healthy lifestyle, its just not possible. The computer can convince people to stop drugs and alcohol but if you think about it would you rather have an obsession over the computer for hours at the day, you have to be near the computer you have to be on it then doing drugs or alcohol? The computer is just as bad addiction as alcohol and drugs. The computer cannot HELP us other then give us fast information when we need it. The computer although has so much information and so many untrusted sites you never know if what your reading is a lie. And I hope I get 10 points because I just wasted my time answering this long question, I hope you weren’t just asking this for the heck of this — I hope it was for some essay lol.

      Take care bye

      View Comment
    • Bob
    • August 22, 2013
    Reply

    What Are Some Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Make? So I’ve started drinking more water. I drink Green, White, and Chai tea. I also bought the stainless steel water bottle, and I bike for about 20-30 minutes a day. I consider these healthy lifestyle changes. I was wondering if you could provide more suggestions along these lines.

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • August 22, 2013
      Reply

      There are 5 elements in a healthy lifestyle.

      1. food
      2. exercise
      3. sleep
      4. happiness
      5. extra healthy things

      1. Food, we don’t really know that much about nutrition, we do know a blanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you. Meat is pretty good, if it is lean and not eaten too often….ideally I might eat meat once or twice a week. A good healthy diet can include some indulgences.
      2. Exercise, you should do some. Though I don’t recommend routine exercise, cycle 2 or 3 times a week, join a social sports club, eg, tennis, go hiking on weekends, swimming is one of the best exercises for the whole body. If you vary your exercise, then you will enjoy it more and do more.
      3. Sleep. A lot of evidence says if you don’t get enough sleep you will have problems, eat more, metabolise your food differently and die young.
      4. Be happy, enjoy your life. Drink dance, eat chocolate, but not all day, everyday.
      5. Then there are all the little extras. eg, green tea (there is no such things as Chai tea….chai means tea, it is an indian word derived from the chinese word Cha, meaning tea), red wine, brocollie and beetroot, lots of things than can boost your body, ginger, garlice and hundreds of other things that you can add to your diet to make things a little better.

      Don’t obsess, don’t live by a book or a routine, just be healthy.

      View Comment
  3. Reply

    How Will You Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle In The Future? Imagine yourself after college. You’re married with a few kids. You’re gaining a few pounds every now and then. How will you get yourself back on track into a healthy lifestyle?

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • August 22, 2013
      Reply

      Minus the after college part, but I have 2 kids and am expecting the third one in a few weeks. We maintain healthy lifestyles by eating nutritious foods, lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and milk. We also get a lot of exercise in. Although my kids are still toddlers and I’m big as a house, everyday as a family my husband and I walk with the kids up and down the road, then when we get home my husband stays outside with the kids and plays with them while I get supper fixed. We don’t turn the TV on until after baths, forcing us to get up off the couch. Hopefully that will encourage our kids to maintain healthy lifestyles after they’re all grown up.

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  4. Reply

    How To Keep A Healthy Lifestyle Up At School? I’ve recently started exercising and eating healthily, in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, as well as lose weight. I go back to school in September, and I’ve been doing absolutely brilliantly so far. However, I’m definitely a stress eater, and especially with lots of exams coming up this and next year, I’m gonna be more stressed than ever. I don’t want to lose my progress or put all the weight back on. As well as this, I’m worried I won’t have time to work out as I’ll be tired from school in the daytime, so it could get difficult. Does anyone have any tips that could help me maintain what I’m doing for when I go back to school?

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