Blood Health Awareness and Management in the Spotlight
A recent insert published March 18 in the Washington Post put a spotlight on blood health awareness. The piece highlights treatment options for living with atrial fibrillation (AFib), patient blood management and the need to approach surgical blood use from a patient-focused perspective, reducing the risk of needing a transfusion, blood clot awareness, and finding the best treatment for prevention.
"[Since] the risks and benefits of anticoagulants vary depending on the individual … patients should ask if any of their existing medications interact with the anticoagulation therapy options and how their age, gender, and family history impacts their risk for the different anticoagulants," notes JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart, and medical director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Center and Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Preexisting medical conditions like heart failure, hypertension, diabetes and vascular disease are also risk factors to consider when determining treatment options."
Emphasizing the importance of effective clinician/patient communication, Suzanne Hughes, MSN, RN, member of the ACC's Cardiovascular Care Team Section and clinical education project director at the Preventative Cardiovascular Nurses Association, notes that communication "is critical [for] the safe management of patients taking antiplatelet and/or anticoagulant medications." Hughes explains that clinicians should leverage high-quality, evidence-based, patient-friendly education materials to supplement face-to-face education.
Stressing the importance of hematology research, Janis L. Abkowitz, MD, president of the American Society of Hematology, writes that "hematology advances also help patients with other types of cancers, heart disease, and stroke. For example, blood thinners effectively treat or prevent blood clots and strokes. Death rates from heart attacks are reduced by new forms of anticlotting drugs. Stem cell transplantation can cure inherited metabolic disorders, and gene therapy holds the promise of effectively treating hereditary disease." Abkowitz calls for an increased public awareness about blood diseases and support for federal funding for research to lead to continued scientific advances in the field.
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