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Get personal to improve heart health
Date:2/23/2009

isease (CHD), particularly targeting those with family histories of the disease, through schemes such as the new, free 'health MOT' campaign. Until now, there has been little research looking at how people respond to such heart disease screening, particularly in relation to their age and stage of life. This study investigated the impact of the screening on the patients involved by interviewing 38 of them immediately after their intervention, looking particularly at how the age and stage of life of the participants affected their reactions.

"We found that patients struggled to maintain their sense of being 'healthy' in the face of their new 'high risk' status," said Dr Farrimond. "The older they were, the more patients treated the risk of CHD as a normal part of getting older. They would downplay their sense of vulnerability by, for example, comparing their own weight and diet favourably with that of their friends."

The study suggests that CHD intervention programmes need to be more sensitive to the social environment and age of the target group. It adds that most patients believe their diet is already 'balanced' or 'healthy', so clinicians should move away from simply repeating the formulaic set of well-known dietary rules and offering 'added-value' information about a specific CHD preventative diet.

"There's no point in just telling patients to 'be healthy'," said Dr Farrimond. "They need specific advice on how to protect their heart. GPs and nurses are well-placed to give the type of personalised information patients deserve."


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Contact: Claire Packman
c.h.packman@exeter.ac.uk
01-392-269-126
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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