Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Experts Convene to Discuss State of Total Heart Health in Georgia September 11

/PRNewswire/ -- Today six national organizations committed to improving the health of patients with heart disease announced a public education and awareness event for the Georgia community focused on the entire spectrum of heart health care. This free public forum, titled "Complete Care for Your Heart," is part of a series of regional "Know What Counts" programs hosted by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and designed to educate the public about the many facets of heart disease. Highlights of the program include inspiring testimonials from heart disease patients as well as informative and engaging presentations from medical experts.

SCAI developed "Complete Care for Your Heart" in partnership with the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Association of Black Cardiologists, Mended Hearts, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. The public forum will take place on September 11, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Marriot Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center in Atlanta.

"The number of people in Georgia diagnosed with heart disease continues to grow. Every day I see patients who will struggle with this disease for the rest of their lives," said J. Jeffrey Marshall, M.D., FSCAI, SCAI vice president, director of Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Northeast Georgia Heart Center and Know What Counts program director. "It has never been more important to educate the public about the whole spectrum of heart health care, including prevention, detection and treatment. This event can help patients and the general public to understand how to proactively manage their heart health through medication adherence and lifestyle changes and live a full life with heart disease."

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. In 2007, more than 20,000 people in Georgia died from heart disease, accounting for approximately one-third of deaths in the state. According to data collected from 2000 to 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia ranks higher in heart disease and stroke deaths than the national average. In Georgia, 474 per 100,000 people died from heart disease and 119 per 100,000 died from stroke, compared to the national average of 428 and 98, respectively. In 2006, it was estimated that more than 80 million people in the U.S. had one or more forms of heart disease. Yet many people remain unaware of the risks for developing heart disease, or the array of treatment options available. During the Know What Counts program, medical experts will discuss the importance of adhering to a prescribed drug regimen for the treatment of heart disease or after heart attack, appropriate lifestyle choices to prevent or overcome heart disease, the need for cardiac rehabilitation and the latest therapies to optimize patient outcomes. Accompanying patient testimonials will focus on living with heart disease including medication adherence and lifestyle changes to ensure a full life after treatment.

Raising awareness of the importance of adhering to prescribed medication and lifestyle changes is a critical part of Know What Counts, as research has consistently shown low patient adherence rates to physician-prescribed medication or lifestyle changes for the treatment of heart disease or after heart attack, including a 2006 study in the American Heart Journal that showed heart attack patients' adherence rates to prescribed medication after heart attack was only 45 percent after one year.

"Complete Care for Your Heart" will feature engaging sessions from a variety of medical experts and patients including:

-- Theodore Bass, M.D., FSCAI, SCAI Secretary; Chief of Cardiology,
Medical Director of Cardiovascular Center, Program Director of
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Florida
College of Medicine, Jacksonville
-- Barbara Fletcher, RN, MN, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN, Board of Director,
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association; Clinical Associate
Professor, School of Nursing, College of Health, University of North
Florida, Jacksonville
-- Bonnie Sanderson, PhD, RN, FAACVPR, American Association of
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation President-Elect; Associate
Professor, School of Nursing, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
-- Ann Bendall, heart disease patient, WomenHeart Champion
-- Steve Stanko, heart disease patient, Mended Hearts

"Each of us plays an integral role in the prevention of heart disease and in spreading the message about the importance of caring for your heart," continued Dr. Marshall. "In forums like Know What Counts, real progress can be made to educate the public and raise awareness about heart disease and adherence to treatment regimens, while also informing physicians and policymakers of their important role in the prevention and treatment of this disease."

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