WHY do we need DIAGNOSIS and TREATMENT?
- Early diagnosis and treatment is pivotal in the prevention of early onset heart disease
- Unfortunately FH affects families therefore once an individual (INDEX case) is diagnosed then the prevention can flow onto other members of the family through a process called ‘Cascade Screening’.
- Treatment for patients with FH involves lifestyle management in combination with cholesterol lowering medication.
- Long term drug therapy for FH patients can significantly reduce the lifetime risk of Heart disease and stroke.
- Left untreated, patients with FH have up to a 20-fold risk of premature coronary heart disease leading to early death.
What The Nurse can Do
- Comprehensive explanation in the most simple terms is important to ensure that the patient (and their family) understand the importance of management of FH is holistic not just medication.
- Get your patients on board with a process that hits realistic targets – and ensure that lifestyle is patient centered, modifiable and sustainable.
- Patients all have reasons for not doing what’s best for them – you need to find out what those reasons are and work with the patient to overcome challenges and barriers.
- Be prepared to understand the human you are treating.
- Patients are not going to change their lifestyles unless you communicate properly.
- Medication is essential and there is a lot of ‘bad press’ around statins. Get the patient to know their body before they start taking medication and not be influenced by ‘Dr Google’ for side effects.
- Ensure that the patient is aware of the side effects and that you are there to address their concerns if and when any occur. I have a policy of ‘Start low, go slow’ with medication to get the patient compliant.
- Aim for a >50% reduction in LDL-c.