Next up in the news is a story about people who take statin drugs and how they seem to think they can get away with a higher fat diet because of it. The article in question refers to research from UCLA which analyzed statin users’ responses to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2000 and from 2009 to 2010.
Statin Users Consume 10% More Fat and Calories
According to the comparison of the survey data, statin users now are consuming nearly 10% more calories and fat than they did ten years ago. Those of you who know me, probably know that I’m not a fan of pharmaceutical substitution for behavioral modification.
I’ve long believed that when we give someone a pill that does something they could do on their own, they begin to believe that they don’t have to follow the rules. This study supports that point. While 15 years ago, statin users were clearly getting the message to change their diets along with the pill, today, that message is getting lost, if they’re getting it at all!
Patient Medication and Lifestyle Education by Nurses
Prescribing drugs like statins is meant to be a part of a treatment regimen and not a license to, as the study authors put it, “put butter on their steaks.” This falls securely on us, people. Nurses and doctors need to educate the patients of all of their options and provide them with clear and explicit instructions on how the medications are to be taken along with dietary changes needed to maximize the drug’s effect.
Statin drugs are prescribed to 1/6 of U.S. adults at this time yet clearly they are not getting the message about dietary modification that needs to go along with it. Look for opportunities to talk with patients when you see that they are prescribed statins.
Ask them about their diets and what steps, if any, they are taking to reduce fat and calorie intake while taking them. Get to the bottom of their understanding of how the drug works and how they need to work with it to lower their cardiovascular risk in a variety of ways. Every conversation is a chance to influence a person’s life for the better. Let’s step up to the plate and get this done!
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Getting Kids Vaccinated On Time and Nursing Show Episode 295.