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Using a Disease Management Program to Control Heart Disease

By

Diana K. Rodriguez

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If it's been more than a few years since high school biology class, you've probably forgotten what a powerhouse your heart is.
support group

Managing heart disease involves many steps. Doctor appointments, medication regimens, and lifestyle changes are all part of the process. It can be a lot to juggle. You also might have questions that can't wait until your next checkup. The solution to all this might be to take part in a disease management program. These programs help people manage heart disease while taking charge of their health.

How It Works

Think of a disease management program as a medical support group. Its goal is to reinforce your self-care efforts. There are many different types of programs. They all have the same goal—getting and keeping you healthy despite heart disease.

Participants get help with adopting heart-healthy habits and sticking with their medication schedule. The leaders of these programs are medical professionals, such as a certified nurse practitioner. They will work with you on specific steps to improve your health. There may also be a pharmacist and other healthcare providers on your team. The team members work with your doctors to keep them updated on your health.

Each disease management program works a little differently. Most offer frequent communication with your team. There could be a 24-hour-a-day advice line to answer questions at any hour of the day or night. Your program might also include counseling appointments with healthcare providers and home visits.

Disease management programs are usually covered by health insurance. Check with your plan, just to be sure.

Improving Your Health and Your Pocketbook

One goal of a disease management program is to help you save on healthcare costs. By getting healthier, you may need fewer doctor appointments. You'll also be less likely to need hospitalization.

Participating in a disease management program can help improve your health more quickly than if you didn't have access to these services. You may also see greater improvements in your health. You may be able to slow or even stop the progression of your heart disease, thanks to the extra help you get.

Tracking Your Progress

One part of a disease management program is to give you updates on your progress. Positive feedback is a great motivator for continuing healthy steps. As you work hard to improve your health, your team will show you how your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and other results are improving. Seeing how your efforts are paying off will encourage you to stick with the program. Then, you can achieve even more success.

A Healthier, Happier You

Once you start using the tools you're given to improve your health, your quality of life should improve. You'll be able to enjoy more of the activities you love. A disease management program can also make it easier for you to access healthcare services, better medications, and more effective treatments. This may help you prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other heart problem.

When you start one of these programs, you'll have a partner on your road to better health. You won't be alone when trying to make the lifestyle changes necessary to control your heart disease.

Participating in a disease management program does require commitment on your part. You'll need to take an active role and stay in touch with your disease management team. However, this time investment will be well worth it in better health for you.

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Medical Reviewers: Farrokh Sohrabi, MD Last Review Date: Nov 18, 2015

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Disease Management Programs: Improving Health While Reducing Costs? Georgetown University. https://hpi.georgetown.edu/agingsociety/pubhtml/management/management.html 
  2. Concept Series Paper on Disease Management. Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. http://www.amcp.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=9295  
  3. Disease Management for Heart Failure. National Pharmaceutical Council. http://www.npcnow.org/system/files/research/download/DM%20for%20Heart%20Failure.pdf
  4. Heart Failure Disease Management. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/disorders/heart-failure-what-is/hftreatement/hic_Heart_... 
  5. Cardiac Disease Management. Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/portal/page?_pageid=213,240353&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL 

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