As an independent pharmacist, you play a vital role in your patient’s health journey. You ensure they receive the proper care they need to live healthier lives. As we mentioned in our National Pharmacist Day blog, there is always cause for celebrating pharmacists.

While National Pharmacist Day was about white-coat-wearing healthcare professionals, American Heart Month is about raising awareness.

We all know the importance of the human heart. Your pharmacy is full of heart medications that help your patients with various heart-related ailments.

A more informed patient is also a healthier patient. Here are a few ways you can promote exceptional heart health during American Heart Month.

What You Need to Know About Heart Disease

American Heart Month is the perfect time to learn more about heart disease and how you can help improve your patient’s — and your own — cardiovascular health. Here’s what you should know.

For starters, heart disease is a kind of cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

More than 11% of American adults have been diagnosed with heart disease, and nearly 650,000 Americans die from it every year.

Coronary heart disease is one of the most common types of heart disease, with 366,000 Americans dying from it every year. It occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries, preventing the oxygen-rich blood from getting to your heart.

This can lead to blood clots and heart attacks. In fact, coronary heart disease is the most common cause of heart attacks.

Hypertension is the leading cause of heart disease, according to the CDC.

Since about 47% of Americans suffer from hypertension, a decent portion of your customer base likely does too.

And if a decent portion of your customer base has hypertension, they may be at risk of getting heart disease.

How to Promote Better Heart Health

Knowing — they say — is half the battle. Now that you’re armed with knowledge, it’s time to put these words and ideas into action.

The CDC’s American Heart Month toolkit has several resources you can use to promote greater cardiovascular health to your patients.

Maintain Medication Adherence

Many patients take heart medications, and it’s essential that they stay on top of their adherence in order to stay healthy.

Medication adherence is a big point of focus in the pharmacy industry. You and your pharmacy staff are responsible for ensuring your patients are taking their medications as prescribed.

There are several reasons for poor patient adherence. A study funded by Express Scripts found that the top reasons patients don’t take their medications are:

  • Simply forgetting to take their medication
  • Not renewing their prescriptions on time
  • Putting off refills, resulting in multiple missed doses

Though mere forgetfulness can be forgiven every once in a while, non-adherence can be the pharmaceutical version of a nickel-and-dime error: it might seem harmless at first — until it starts adding up.

A study by the National Library of Medicine found that non-adherence is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. — an alarming figure considering how quickly one can fix non-adherence.

The best solution to non-adherence is to counsel your patients on their medications further.

Call or text them when it’s almost time for a refill or when their prescription has been ready for a few days. If you haven’t already, use our MedTel IVRx feature to better automate patient communication.

Better adherence inevitably leads to better health — better heart health to be exact. It also gives their doctor an idea of how effective that medication is, letting them adjust accordingly.

A patient’s health journey is not a one-way street. And the road to achieving quality heart health requires consistency, discipline, and dedication.

Achieve Healthy Goals

The facts about heart disease can be frightening and rightfully so. Symptoms of heart disease rarely surface until it’s too late. Knowing, this, it’s essential to promote better health among your patients and pharmacy staff.

Take the “Healthy Lifestyle Goals” calendar for example. It gives patients clear, actionable goals to complete throughout the month.

The calendar offers ideas for healthy activities such as:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Make home-cooked meals instead of dining out
  • Smart snacking with apple slices and bell peppers
  • Drink flavored water instead of soda

You can make your own healthy calendar. You can achieve quality heart health in several ways:

  • Substitute the chips for fruit
  • Quit smoking or stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Manage stress (go for a walk or practice meditation)

Though this blog is set to publish during American Heart Month, you can still offer it to your patients throughout the year.

Run Your Way To Better Heart Health

Making strides on one’s health journey is not a seasonal affair. It’s a marathon — not a sprint — with no end. But don’t let that frighten you. The longer paths tend to be scenic routes, so why not have some fun on your health journey?

Diet and exercise are your best friends in achieving greater cardiovascular health. Put the “cardio” into cardiovascular by adopting a running routine.

If your community is known to hold races like 5K’s or 10K’s, contact your city officials to see if your independent pharmacy can be a sponsor.

You can also do the same with your local gym. More collaboration within the community will further strengthen local bonds.

Host a Hearty Event

Once you get the go-ahead, promote the event in your pharmacy and encourage your patients to join. Being a part of events like this will further solidify your pharmacy’s place as a pillar of the community.  

Look beyond your pharmacy counter. Prescription medications definitely help with patients’ cardiovascular health, but OTC products can lend a helping hand too.

Suggest a blood pressure monitor for your patients who have hypertension. This will let them monitor their blood pressure whenever they want so they can be more up-to-date with their cardiovascular health.

The more they can help themselves, the easier the road to quality health becomes.

Create a Heartfelt Health Journey

American Heart Month came to be to raise awareness of heart disease. As a healthcare professional, you should create an environment within your pharmacy that promotes greater cardiovascular health.

Make sure your most popular blood pressure medications are always in stock and counsel your patients on their prescriptions more thoroughly. Remind them that they’re not alone in their health journeys.

American Heart Month is the perfect time to encourage your patients to take one step further, so help them as much as you can.

Your position as an independent pharmacist is a powerful one, so let it shine throughout America Heart Month and the months that follow.

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