February is American Heart Month. First proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, the month is dedicated to increasing the awareness of heart health and creating a culture in which making heart-healthy life choices are encouraged. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans and is undoubtedly a health risk that needs to be addressed.

The support of family and friends of people suffering from heart disease and the aftermath of strokes is vital to improving the health of those affected. In the spirit of celebrating the month, below is a list of actions friends, family and medical staff members can take to help those afflicted with heart disease.

Accompany Them to Doctor Appointments

Offering to attend an appointment with a friend or family member can provide comfort and support during the visit to counteract some of their fear. Even if you’re not in the examination room with them, being there for the car ride to and from the appointment is a way to show them love and support. However, being in the examination room with them can help you better understand the disease and better care for your friend or loved one.

Share Helpful Articles

The old adage is that knowledge is power. There are numerous articles out there about heart disease, how to navigate life with it and coping with the monumental weight of the affliction. The American Heart Association (AHA), the largest organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, offers a wealth of helpful informational materials and research.

There are also online support groups your friend or family member can connect with for additional support. The AHA has a robust online support network to help people come together in effort to comfort and provide solidarity to those suffering from heart disease.

Provide Emotional Support

Providing your friends or family with emotional support in situations outside of a medical setting is also important. Finding out that you’re diagnosed with heart disease can be psychologically traumatizing. If your friend or family member shows prolonged symptoms of depression, suggesting therapy sessions with a psychiatrist or social worker can help.

It’s also critical to not pressure the person to talk about their condition if they do not wish to do so. Everyone handles traumatic events differently. Simply letting them know that you are there for them to talk about it when they are ready lets them know you care.

Encourage a Healthy Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise are vital to everyone’s health. It is even more important for those who have had a stroke or who have been diagnosed with heart disease. Understandably, it’s not always easy to do that, especially by oneself. Supporting your friend or loved one’s transition to a healthier diet and exercise is another way in which you can provide love and support.

If it’s your significant other who’s attempting to change their diet, you can show your solidarity by eating the same things they’re eating. The same can be said for exercising. It’s a lot easier to do something you perceive as difficult if you have a friend to accompany you in your pursuit of self-improvement. In effect, the changes you make with your partner can improve your life as well.

Helping your friend or loved one form good habits and providing them with encouragement until they reach self-sufficiency can make all of the difference in their success.

Empathy from Medical Assistants and Doctors

Doctors and their staffs are obviously crucial to the care of people with heart disease. The doctor’s attitude can be a factor in how well the treatment and lifestyle changes fare. This is not to say that doctors should sugarcoat information, but it helps if the doctor and staff have a capacity for empathy.

This is true of medical assistants who work in cardiologists’ offices with heart disease patients. Medical assistants help the doctor provide patient care, performing tasks like taking blood pressure, addressing questions and concerns, in addition to comforting patients.

The task is especially important for patients who come to visits by themselves or were unable to have someone go with them for that particular appointment. Showing empathy to patients and making them feel comfortable can be the difference between a patient feeling good at the end of the visit and feeling depressed.

Clearly medical assistants play an important role in the heart health of patients, especially in cardiologists’ offices. If you’re seeking a career in which you can make a difference in the heart health of America, becoming a medical assistant might be the perfect life choice for you.

Start Your Journey at Coyne College

Coyne College is one of Chicago’s top skilled trade education institutions and is proud to offer its medical assistant program to future healthcare professionals. Coyne offers day classes for their healthcare programs. All programs are offered at the Coyne College campus, located in the heart of the Chicago Loop at the intersection of State and Madison streets.

Coyne College’s medical assistant program thoroughly prepares you to enter the healthcare field as a medical assistant. The program can be completed in as little as 54 weeks.

As a medical assisting student at Coyne College, you will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed as a medical assistant. Some of the topics covered in the program’s curriculum include:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomy and Pathophysiology
  • Basic Insurance and Billing
  • And more!

You will learn the ins and outs of medical assisting in an environment surrounded by instructors dedicated to helping you succeed. Coyne’s highly knowledgeable instructors have years of meaningful experience in the workforce. Coyne College’s program also features a six-week portion dedicated to electronic health records.

All medical assisting students are required to complete an externship following the completion of all of the necessary coursework.

Following the completion of the program and your externship, you will be ready to enter the workforce as a medical assistant in any number of healthcare settings.

With more than 110 years of experience in helping aspiring skilled trade professionals realize their dreams, Coyne College has a well-developed network of resources to help students gain employment after they finish their studies. 

Coyne College offers students career assistance, including mock interviews, externships and résumé help. These resources can help students secure externships after completing the program.

Coyne’s students receive a well-rounded medical assistant education that provides them with a toolbox for success in the healthcare industry.

Start your journey to bettering the lives of patients today by visiting http://www.coynecollege.edu/.