Are Scare Tactics Needed for Heart Patients?
Most of us have boundaries on what we are willing to look at, and what makes us squeamish. Most of us would not make good doctors or nurses when the blood shows up. But now, scary pictures of real narrowed heart arteries may be necessary to scare heart patients into good behavior and good diets, according to a group of Danish researchers.
Imagine Looking At Your Arteries
Newsmax tells us of a recent study where patients saw their coronary arteries on a CT image, and it definitely got their attention. Rikke Mols, a nurse and Ph.D student, said, “It is my coronary artery and my calcification and I am facing a real risk and challenge. This may be the wakeup call patients need.”
Half of the subjects saw the actual image of their calcified arteries and they were told to not smoke, eat healthy, exercise, take aspirin and consider taking cholesterol lowering drugs. The other half received the same advice, but did not see their artery images. Sixty four percent of those who saw their arteries changed their diets. Only 44 percent of the ones who did not see the images changed their diets. Twenty two percent of the ones who saw their artery images stopped smoking. Only nine percent of the ones who did not see the images stopped.
This could suggest other reminders
If you or someone in your family fits the heart danger profile, you might want to see about seeing your arteries, and inventing more ways to take action now before your heart reminds you more forcibly.
Heart disease can be a devastating life change. I have watched a couple people go through the whole loop, into surgery with a triple bypass, and then out with a different look on life. Most of those people did not have to be reminded again. They stayed on heart healthy diets, went to rehab gyms regularly, took prescribed medications, and never smoked.
It’s kind of like having a bad accident. Once is really enough to remind you to drive safer every time you get in the car. But what we may really need is a lot of little constant, and very visible reminders, to skip that fast food burger, never light up, make every one of those thirty minute daily workouts, and take all medications regularly.
I have seen people use job jar formats where gold stars or gold coins are accumulated when people followed their heart health routines, and a special celebration follows. I have also seen people post funny signs on the fridge, or tuck them into a traveler’s luggage.
Whatever we can do, it looks like some kind of reminder can really make a difference.