Dr Christi Deaton on Promoting Better Self-Management for Patients With CVD

Patients can self-manage their cardiovascular disease and improve their quality of life by improving diet, being more physically active, taking medications as prescribed, and being partners in their care with their healthcare provider, said Christi Deaton, PhD, RN, FAHA, FESC, of the University of Cambridge.

What can cardiac patients do on their own to better self-manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life?
Patients should work to be partners with their healthcare provider. And we know from plenty of research that tells us how important lifestyle is, so trying to make some changes that improve your diet, being more physically active, certainly taking medications, these are all very important areas.

We sometimes underestimate the importance of nutrition, and oftentimes we talk about substituting. So people, rather thinking negatively—"I'm going to have to give up everything I like"—you just substitute. Let's put fish in for red meat. Let's put more vegetables in, and make sure that they're cooked in an appropriate way so you're not just eating your fried potatoes as a vegetable. Being more physically active—finding ways that you can build that into your life. Those are all very important things that will help you feel better.

So patients should think about what they want. What are your goals? And then you work with your healthcare provider to do the things that will help you to reach those goals. It's about thinking about what youw want from treatment and what your health condition is preventing you from doing so that you can move forward.

Being a partner, being very proactive, asking questions, finding out everything that you can. Sometimes clinicians are a bit threatened by that, but I think it's important that we have informed consumers.
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