Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 1-800-239-2901




1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732
334.289.2410 
334.289.2416 (fax)


powered by centersite dot net
Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Assistance Dogs Bring Big Boost to Deaf PeopleCDC to Toughen COVID Testing for International TravelersOld Spice, Secret Antiperspirants Recalled Due to BenzeneClinical Trials Are Becoming More Diverse, But There's Still Work To DoRural Hospitals' ERs Just as Effective as Urban Ones: StudyKraft Recalls Powdered Drinks Over Metal, Glass ConcernsVials Found in Lab Contained Vaccine, not Smallpox Virus: CDCAdvances in Care, Impact of COVID Highlights of Latest Cardiologists' MeetingAcross America, Black People Have Worse Health OutcomesVials With Smallpox Labels Found at Vaccine Lab in Pennsylvania: CDCWhite House to Spend Billions to Boost COVID Vaccine SupplyAHA News: Health Class May Influence Heart Risk in South AsiansPfizer COVID Pill to Be Made, Sold Cheaply in 95 Poor CountriesFederal Court Backs Stay on COVID Vaccine Mandate for Large BusinessesMore Than 2 Million COVID Home Test Kits Recalled Due to False Positive ResultsIn Canada, Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Had More Smokers QuittingOklahoma Supreme Courts Overturns $465 Million J & J Opioid RulingPandemic Puts 'Outdated' Infection Control Practices Under ScrutinyMillions of Tons of COVID Masks, Gloves Will End Up in OceansSales of Unproven, Unapproved Stem Cell Therapies Are BoomingCourt Temporarily Blocks Biden’s Vaccine Mandate for Big BusinessesU.S. Reopens Borders to Vaccinated Foreign TravelersIt's Time to Replace Your Smoke Alarm BatteriesAHA News: How Doctors Can Help Their Patients Make Heart-Healthy Lifestyle ChangesWhite House Sets Jan. 4 Deadline for Large, Private U.S. Companies to Mandate VaccinesHepatitis B Shots Advised for All U.S. Adults Under 60Supply Chain Issues Bring Shortages of Drugs, Devices to U.S. HospitalsMedicare Could Negotiate Drug Prices Under Democrat ProposalWe've Been Here Before: How Polio Vaccine Rollout Saved Millions of Young LivesAlmost 1 in 3 U.S. Seniors Now Sees at Least 5 Doctors Per YearLanguage Can Make the Difference Between Home, Hospital Care: StudyAttorneys General Warn About Pot Products That Look Like Halloween TreatsCDC Lowers Threshold for Lead Poisoning in Youngest KidsStronger Breast Implant Safety Measures Announced by FDAWalmart Recalls Room Spray for Rare Bacteria That Sickened 4, Killing 2U.S. Gun Violence Rates Jumped 30% During PandemicMandates, Not Recommendations, Work Best to Get Folks Vaccinated: StudyU.S. Has Shared 200 Million Shots With Other CountriesLittle Change Seen in Americans' Use of Mental Health Services During PandemicWomen Doctors Face Higher Levels of Harassment, Frustration: SurveyEPA Plans New Strategy Against PFAS 'Forever Chemicals'State Spending on Poverty Really Pays Off for Kids: StudyState Lotteries Didn't Help Boost Vaccination RatesVaccinated Foreign Travelers Can Enter United States Beginning Nov. 8Despite Pressures of Pandemic, U.S. Nursing School Enrollment ClimbsBiden Administration to Invest $100 Million to Ease Health Worker ShortageFDA Warns Against Using At-Home Dermal Filler 'Pens'Death Threats, Trolling Common for Scientists Who Speak to Media About COVID'Extreme Heat' Days Have Tripled Since 1980s, and More Are ComingAHA News: Are Monolingual Spanish Speakers More at Risk in the Pandemic?
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

AHA News: How Doctors Can Help Their Patients Make Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: Nov 4th 2021

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Nov. 4, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Lifestyle change is a powerful, proven way for a person to prevent heart disease. But to make healthy changes stick, people often need a little help.

Primary care doctors could offer crucial assistance in connecting patients with counseling that's been shown to make a difference. But because of time constraints or other barriers, those doctors often don't.

A new report offers guidance on how to change that.

The scientific statement, published Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, summarizes research showing the benefits of behavioral counseling. It also offers practical ways for busy health care professionals to help patients get that kind of care – care that goes beyond the typical 15-minute annual appointment.

Deepika Laddu, who led the group that wrote the statement, said it's not usually enough for a patient to simply recognize the need to change their eating or exercise habits.

"It's one thing to say, 'I'm going to reduce the amount of fat in my diet.' But they need support to say, 'I'm going to maintain that as a lifestyle,'" said Laddu, an assistant professor of physical therapy in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Such support might involve guidance on planning a healthy diet or setting realistic exercise goals. It also could involve checking in regularly to make sure those plans and goals stay on track.

But "providers don't have time," Laddu said. "They may not have the resources in place. There also are system-related factors," such as the bureaucracies behind referral policies or reimbursement.

The report spells out the importance of overcoming such barriers by summarizing research on programs delivered in primary care or community settings that have been shown to work in people who are middle-aged or older. "We're providing the best-practice approaches of what has been done and what has successfully been shown to improve health behaviors – not for a short period of time, but for a long time," Laddu said.

One example is the Diabetes Prevention Program, said report co-author Dr. Jun Ma, a professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It's a well-studied intervention that includes lifestyle coaches who meet regularly with participants. It's been shown to work as well or better than medication at reducing risk factors for heart disease.

But it still tends to be much easier for a physician to write a prescription than to enroll someone in such a program, Ma said. "They do not have the same system or infrastructure to just prescribe a behavioral intervention."

Overworked primary care professionals shouldn't be expected to do all the work themselves, Ma said. "Typical clinicians are not trained to be behavioral counselors or health coaches. So, it needs a team-based approach. We need to have people properly trained in behavioral counseling to be on the care team."

To help with that, the report offers doctors links to lists of community programs – available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the YMCA and others – that they can use to refer patients. And it explains how programs might qualify for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Ma said even if a practice has not been making use of behavioral approaches, the statement is written to fit in with the way physicians are trained to guide patients. So, the hope is it systematically makes it easier for doctors to assist patients and arrange care for those who need it.

The report is a starting point for changing the way doctors promote health in light of long-term trends showing an aging population with growing levels of heart disease, Laddu said.

"I don't know if our health care system is going to be equipped for handling the rising burden of heart disease that is expected unless we make a change now," she said, "and unless we help providers understand what tools are available and increase the awareness of what can be done beyond the constraints of their 15-minute window."

When a patient is ready for change, Laddu said, the health care team also needs to take accountability and say, "I need to help my patient change," whether that's directly helping a patient or "arranging the support system so that their patient can get the care that they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it."

By Michael Merschel