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Pharmacists May Help Patients Prevent and Detect Heart Disease

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of Cholesterol Education Month, The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) would like to highlight the increasing role of the pharmacist in communities nationwide. In many areas, pharmacists are able to offer cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, as well as other detection and prevention services to help a patient manage their healthcare and get the most out the medications they may be taking.



"Regular cholesterol screenings are an essential component of maintaining a healthy heart and lifestyle," stated APhA CEO and Executive Vice President Thomas Menighan. "Pharmacists are in an exceptional position to provide these vital services, as they practice among the general public on a daily basis. The pharmacist is able to listen to consumers, hear their needs and advise at-risk patients on services, screenings or further follow-up they may need from a healthcare provider."

Heart disease is currently the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Each year, more than 1 million Americans have a heart attack and about a half million die from heart disease. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

According to the National Institutes of Health, everyone aged 20 and older should have their cholesterol measured at least every five years and they should fall within the relative categories below. Talk with your health care provider for a more thorough discussion of these categories and how your cholesterol compares.Total CholesterolLevel CategoryLess than 200 mg/dL

Desirable200-239 mg/dL

Borderline high240 mg/dL and above

HighA variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are things you can do something about:

  • Diet - Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level go up. Saturated fat is the main culprit, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level.
  • Weight - Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL and lower your triglyceride levels.
  • Physical Activity - Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.

  • Things you cannot do anything about also can affect cholesterol levels. These include:

  • Age and Gender - As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women's LDL levels tend to rise.
  • Heredity - Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.

  • Many pharmacists now offer screenings, consultations and detection services to improve the public's overall health, help manage diseases and chronic conditions and ensure a patient is getting the most from the medications he/she is taking.

    Examples of services pharmacists may provide include:

  • Comprehensive medication reviews or "medication check-ups"
  • Complex medication management services or "pharmacotherapy consults"
  • Monitoring and management of diseases and conditions
  • Disease education, coaching and support services
  • Immunization services
  • Health and Wellness services (such as smoking cessation, weight management, nutrition and other services)
  • Self-Care/Over The Counter Medication consultations
  • Many other services that may benefit your health and improve your life

  • Pharmacist-provided services are available to improve health and well-being in conjunction with regular visits with your healthcare providers. APhA encourages consumers to carry an up-to-date medication and vaccination list, and share all medical information with each of their healthcare providers.

    About the American Pharmacists AssociationThe American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States.


    SOURCE American Pharmacists Association
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