News / Health

US Study Shows Counseling May Not Help Heart-Failure Patients

A heart patient's vital stats are checked by one of the medical staff
A heart patient's vital stats are checked by one of the medical staff

Multimedia

People with heart failure often need to make major changes in their lives in order to live longer, including controlling their weight and exercising regularly.  Few patients, however, are able to do this.  As a result, many have repeated hospitalizations and early deaths.  That's what a new study shows from researchers in Chicago, who originally thought better patient education might result in better health management.

In the United States, heart failure is the fastest growing cause of hospitalization.  Many people in other countries also suffer from the disease.  World Health Organization statistics show that at least 17 million people around the world die of cardiovascular disease each year, including those who have heart failure.

Put simply, heart failure means the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. With time, the heart weakens until it can no longer pump.

Katie Coffee suffers from heart failure and tries to follow her doctor's orders.  "I feel better. And I've been walking a lot. So the more I walk, the better I feel."

Doctors say teaching heart-failure patients to take part in self-care is key to successfully treating the disease.  This "self-care" involves taking medicines on time, limiting salt in food, reducing or eliminating alcoholic beverages, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and if they smoke, stopping.

Research shows, though, that 50 percent to 80 percent of heart failure patients don't change their lifestyles.  Another 30 to 60 percent don't consistently take their medications. Health professionals say the reason for such a high failure rate is that patients feel overwhelmed by the number and difficulty of these demands.

Doctor James Calvin, Jr. at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., and other researchers wanted to see if they could help these patients.  "We were looking to see whether or not we could change patient's behavior through education, as well as helping them learn self-management techniques."

Some patients with heart failure received reading materials from the American Heart Association.  Others got counseling in addition to the reading material.

"Forty-seven percent of the patients were women, 40 percent were minorities, so we feel that we put together a population of patients that's representative of the heart failure population of the United States," said Calvin.

Over the course of the study, the doctors did not see much difference between the two groups.  In both groups, about 40 percent of patients were either hospitalized or died.  While the results were disappointing, the researchers saw that some patients did benefit.  

Professor Lynda Powell is one of the researchers.  She chairs the department of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center and she noted, "Self-management counseling actually had a benefit for the low-income patients and education actually had a benefit for the high-income patients."

Professor Powell said the study shows paying more attention to the special needs of different patient groups can have an impact.  The researchers now want to study the effect of tailoring treatment based on the patients' income.

The report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid