How the growth in lifestyle diseases like heart attack, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension, etc. affect the life of nursing professionals
Lifestyle diseases are on the increase globally. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 40 million people die every year due to these ailments. 8.8 million die due to cancer, and an additional 1.6 million die due to obesity. The widespread prevalence of these illnesses has contributed to the change of roles in the nursing profession.
Traditionally nurses were majorly involved in tasks such as diagnosis, disease management, and assisting physicians. However, the skyrocketing of lifestyle diseases has led to increased health education and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Nurses are engaged more in offering patients counseling on proper nutrition and the importance of physical exercise.
They are also engaged in educating communities and assessing whether they have these diseases. Nurses are involved in screening cancer patients and attending to them. The prevalence of these medical conditions has led to an increase in patient-centered care. Nurses attend to patients based on their needs.
Nurses engage in assessing the risks of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes. They advise patients on the lifestyle adjustments they should make to reduce worsening their health condition. For instance, if a patient comes with a painful joint and they are obese, the nurse should advise them that too much weight can aggravate the pain. They should, therefore, guide them on how to lose it. Nurses also have not been spared by these diseases. Although they possess enough knowledge about healthy lifestyles, some cannot take care of themselves, and they end up developing lifestyle diseases, like obesity.
Lifestyle diseases have created new tasks for nurses. They are now involved in the management of conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. They follow up with patients to ensure they are taking prescribed medications and are abiding by the guidelines given by a doctor. Nurses have embarked on disseminating information to inform the public on the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, and unhealthy diets. They use various channels, such as social media, one on one, and events to educate the public.
Nurses also play a crucial role in supporting and motivating patients in behavior change. Unlike the past, where pharmacotherapy was the critical component in medication, lifestyle diseases have made behavior modification a key factor. Nurses face challenges such as patients’ rejection to change, which can make nurses render counseling useless and concentrate on pharmacotherapy.
Jallinoja, Piia, et al. “The dilemma of patient responsibility for lifestyle change: perceptions among primary care physicians and nurses.” Scandinavian journal of primary health care 25.4 (2007): 244-249.
Radzyminski, Sharon. “The concept of population health within the nursing profession.” Journal of Professional Nursing 23.1 (2007): 37-46.