Matters of the Heart: Finding Hope in Peer Support
Health and Nutrition Many don’t know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Hispanics.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all Hispanic adults have elevated cholesterol levels and 22.2 percent have high blood pressure. Depression is common following a diagnosis of heart disease, heart attack or surgery.
Going through a heart event is a life-changing experience that generates lots of questions. “Why did this happen to me? Will my life return to normal? What will my life be like now?”
There is hope, however. A 2014 study conducted by the American College of Cardiology showed the remarkable results of peer support for heart patients.
Patients with peer support are more optimistic, with 75 percent reporting feeling in ‘very good/excellent health’: These patients more readily understand and comply with doctors’ direction, yielding better outcomes.
Peer visitors are helpful in a variety of ways: They provide support from someone with similar experiences, useful information on medical conditions and the recovery process, and encouragement.
Patients rate themselves extremely highly for following medical direction: They are diligent about adhering to medication schedules and use and do their prescribed physical activities and know how to watch for worsening symptoms.
Fewer than 1 in 5 of these patients were readmitted to the hospital: Significantly less than the national average, especially for heart failure patients.
If you or someone you love has heart disease, reach out for support. You are not alone, and sharing your heart journey can make a world of difference.