By Eliz GreeneImproved treatment of heart disease is extending lives, but a new study indicates the quality of those extra years may not be great. Heart attack-survivor Eliz Greene discusses the implications of this troubling study.
According to Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, heart patients rate themselves lower in measures of "quality of life" than people without heart disease. Physical, psychological, and social functioning as well as overall life satisfaction and perceptions of health status were used to determine quality of life.
Women, younger patients (aged 18 to 49), and those who are black or Hispanic are more likely to report poorer quality of life.
Women may experience more physical limitations than men, which can severely affect their ability to fulfill daily duties as desired.
Economic concerns and dependence on health insurance may pressure younger patients to continue in stressful work situations despite their health status.
A recent study indicates a stressful job doubles the risk of a second heart attack. It may be helpful to increase educational efforts aimed at helping employers fashion work environments that better accommodate employees with heart disease, suggested lead author of the study Jipan Xie, M.D., Ph.D., former health scientist in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
"Younger people may feel more pressure--especially younger men--in the workplace and may be more threatened by limitations imposed by their disease," she said. Older patients may experience fewer changes in their daily lives.
"The implications of these findings underscore the need for interventions aimed at improved health-related quality of life for people with coronary heart disease--a population that has been growing rapidly," Xie said.
In communities with limited resources, Xie indicated such interventions should be focused on the most vulnerable populations: younger adults, women, blacks, and Hispanics.
A patient''s perception of quality of life can deeply affect the success of treatment. Patients who are depressed are far less likely to make needed lifestyle changes, adhere to treatment plans, or be consistent with follow up according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchersstudy by Johns Hopkins researchers.
Take a moment to access your quality of life using an online tool and discuss the results with your doctor.
For more Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Busy People visit Eliz''s blog at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.
Eliz Greene survived a sudden cardiac arrest at age thirty-five while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a heart health educator, freelance writer, and speaker on a mission to help busy people lead healthier lives.