February is American Heart Month, and APhA is proud to be part of the Million Hearts Collaboration, a group of health care stakeholders who have partnered to advance heart health in America through the Million Hearts initiative. The initiative, now known as Million Hearts 2022, is aimed at preventing heart attacks and strokes. Million Hearts focuses on increasing physical activity, improving the “ABCS”—aspirin, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation—and reducing daily sodium intake.
Many of Million Hearts 2022’s priorities are in pharmacists’ sweet spot, including blood pressure monitoring. Pharmacists can make a big difference in making sure our patients know how to take their blood pressures correctly, which will help patients and their care providers have an accurate picture of their heart health.
National trends indicate heart disease death rates are declining more slowly than they have in the past, especially among adults ages 35 to 64. Not only are more younger adults dying of heart disease, but their rates of controllable risk factors—such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, and hypertension—are increasing. These are areas where pharmacists can step in and help adults of all ages take control of their heart health.
The CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, in collaboration with the Million Hearts initiative, has released Best Practices for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programs: A Guide to Effective Health Care System Interventions and Community-Clinical Links, a supportive resource for stakeholders who are interested in strategies to improve cardiovascular health and who are looking for available evidence, resources, and tools to carry that out. The guide calls for elevating pharmacist’s involvement in the team-based care model, activating patient involvement through self-management, reducing out-of-pocket costs for medications, and more.
I also encourage you to check out an upcoming CDC webinar, Overview and Walkthrough of the Best Practices Guide for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programs, on February 27 at 12 pm EST. No registration, just visit https://adobeconnect.cdc.gov/r2fwqdv77w0/ to join the event.
Pharmacists interested in learning more about how to best care for patients’ heart health can also consult Using the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process to Manage High Blood Pressure. The resource was also developed by the CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in collaboration with the American Medical Association and APhA.
Want some ideas on how to talk to your patients about heart health? Encourage them to calculate their heart age as an important step toward heart health. Watch and share this video to learn more about heart age. Tell patients about the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s pledge to stay active. Share posts, photos, and videos on how you, your colleagues, and your organization are staying active this February. Use hashtag #MoveWithHeart to join the conversation.