Risk factor awareness and quality of life in coronary patients



“Patient empowerment” is a term we often hear, but what does it mean? According to the European Network on Patient Empowerment (ENOPE), an empowered patient

  • Understands their health condition and its effect on their body.
  • Feels able to participate in decision-making with their healthcare professionals
  • Feels able to make informed choices about treatment.
  • Understands the need to make necessary changes to their lifestyle for managing their condition.
  • Is able to challenge and ask questions of the healthcare professionals providing their care.
  • Takes responsibility for their health and actively seeks care only when necessary
  • Actively seeks out, evaluates and makes use of information.

A study that was just published in the International Journal of Public Health addresses two of the above issues, namely the ones highlighted. This study, sought to investigate the risk factor level awareness in coronary patients and to assess its associations with health-related quality of life and psychological distress.

Data was taken from the EUROASPIRE III survey. A total of 8,743 patients from 22 European countries were interviewed and assessed at least 6 months after their coronary event.

The authors** report that 81.7% of the patients were aware of the blood pressure levels but only 46.6% were aware of their cholesterol levels and 43.7% of their blood glucose levels. There was a great variation in awareness across countries: only 2.9% of Irish patients and 8.1% of UK patients were fully aware of all three risk factors; on the other hand more than half of Russian (62.8%), Greek (56.7%) and Cypriot (52.3%) patients were completely aware of all three risk factors.

Awareness was significantly associated with health-related quality of life and psychological distress, with unaware patients showing the worst outcomes. This association was partially mediated by patients’ attempts to adopt healthier behaviours.


What do you think? How important is patient empowerment? How can it be promoted? What is your experience either as patient or health care provider?


*picture credit

** This paper was written by Delphine De Smedt, Els Clays, Lieven Annemans, Sofie Pardaens, Kornelia Kotseva and Dirk De Bacquer

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