Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to take a lecture for 70-80 community physicians (GP as we call them) on management of coronary artery disease.
The lecture went without any hitch and covered various aspects of pathogenesis, clinical features and medical management of coronary artery disease. Most of the physicians said that they followed the current medical guidelines when it comes to prescribing drugs. But, majority of them did not advise their patients on Diet, Exercise and Life-sytle measures as part of the treatment protocol.
GPs are the community doctors whom the patients trust a lot. Most of them have been family physicians for generations of the same family. Also GPs have lot of time compared to their specialist counterparts. So, it is imperative that GPS spend 5-10 minutes of their talk counselling their patients about Lifestyle measures.
GPs need to emphasise the importance of the following:
1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!! Its a myth that patients with heart problems face higher risk when they exercise. Infact, exercise helps to build up cardiopulmonary reserve and improve mood and reduce symptoms.
2. Diet: should be part and parcel of their prescription. They need to advise their patient to consume a wholesome diet but low in fats and sugars.
3. Positive thinking. In todays world, lot of patients consider themselves unlucky and harbour negative thoughts about their health, fate and destiny once they are labeled as patients with CAD. GPs need to encourage patients to think positive and make them change their outlook towards their disease.
4. Adherence to Medications: Patients can be followed up more frequently by their GPs compared to the specialists. The regular followup bolsters patient’s faith in them and also in the medicines.
In our country, being a GP is considered subordinate to a Specialist. However, even in todays age of overspecialisation, their importance to the community is irreplaceable!!