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Dr Javed Butler on Importance of Diabetes Can Break Your Heart Initiative for American Heart Month

Diabetes Can Break Your Heart is an important initiative that highlights the vital need for heightened education on the link between diabetes and heart failure, especially with American Heart Month looming, said Javed Butler, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of physiology and chairman for the Department of Medicine at the University of Mississippi.


Diabetes Can Break Your Heart is an important initiative that highlights the vital need for heightened education on the link between diabetes and heart failure, especially with American Heart Month looming, said Javed Butler, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of physiology and chairman for the Department of Medicine at the University of Mississippi.

Transcript

What makes Diabetes Can Break Your Heart a unique awareness initiative as we’re approaching February 2020, Heart Awareness Month?

The reason why I am very excited about this initiative is because of its importance, and the reason why this initiative is very important is because 1, diabetes is common, risk for heart failure is common–we can do a lot to prevent the risk of heart failure; but the bigger issue is that there have been a lot of attempts over the years to educate people about the risk of heart attack and what we can do. So, the medical community is engaged in this dialogue.

Right now, almost the entire medical community is not particularly engaged or knowledgeable about prevention of heart failure, and only the cardiology community is really engaged right now in the treatment of heart failure; but the problem is that most of these patients are in other settings. So, the reason why this initiative is really important is because we need to educate the primary care physicians, primary care nurses, nephrologists, endocrinologists–all of these patients that touch the lives of patients with diabetes. There is an interaction, along with the cardiology community also, for prevention as well.

Then, the timing of this initiative is beautiful. February is Heart Month, so that is great, we're just starting right about that time, so that we can perhaps link the 2 things together.

What stakeholder groups are taking part of Diabetes Can Break Your Heart, and how will these groups carry the message?

There are multiple stakeholders that we need to be engaged in this initiative. This is not 1 particular kind of doctor or nurse, sub specialist, or patient–I think it's really pretty much all. So, number 1, to start with the patients themselves. So, patients who have diabetes, they need to know the message so that they can go and ask their clinicians the right questions, and not ignore their symptoms.

One thing is that if you have a heart attack and you have severe chest pain, you're not likely going to ignore it; but if you are a little bit short of breath, a little bit tired, a little bit more fatigued, a lot of the people for a very long time can ignore those symptoms saying: maybe it's my weight, maybe I'm getting older–they change their expectations.

So, first is to go to the patients, families, and caregivers to realize these symptoms early and go and talk to the clinicians. The second is the medical community doctors, nurses, and other medical communities–local nonprofits that are involved in healthcare, local leaders in the community involved in healthcare, maybe local governments that are involved in healthcare. All of these, we need to sort of weave into this thing.

 
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