Pharmacy Awareness Month 2014 - Chronic Health Conditions

Your pharmacist can play a valuable role in helping you manage your Chronic Health Condition.

Article: Chronic Health Conditions – Your Pharmacist Can Help

It can be overwhelming when you are diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure. New medications and recommendations for changes in lifestyle can lead to confusion. Your pharmacist is one of the healthcare professionals in this province that can help make sense of it all and help get – and keep – you on the road to good health.

A six-month study of 150 patients in Ontario found that those who participated in a pharmacist-led hypertension management program showed that pharmacists could have a remarkably positive impact on the health outcomes of their patients. The program led to a quadrupling in the number of patients whose blood pressure is under control. This is pretty significant in a country where 4.1 million Canadians have this disease and only 16 per cent of these patients have their blood pressure under control. Those are terrifying numbers when you consider that controlled blood pressure can reduce heart failure by more than 50 per cent, strokes by 35-45 per cent and myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) by 20-25 per cent. 

Pharmacists participating in the study intervened in a number of focus areas. These areas included: monitoring patients’ blood pressure, monitoring patients’ blood pressure control, aiding patients in adherence to medication therapy and assisting patients in making healthy lifestyle choices.  Pharmacists evaluated and made recommendations on medications and the number of medications taken by the patient and provided lifestyle counselling (smoking cessation, physical fitness and weight loss/gain).  

Pharmacists and patients got to know each other through a number of private sessions. Patients became more educated on how to manage their health condition and pharmacists were able to provide recommendations on how to make managing their health condition easier. In some cases, it was appropriate to switch a patient to a drug


that could be taken once a day instead of twice a day. In other cases, blister packs (cards with designated plastic compartments for each day filled with the patients medications for that day) were used.

Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge and know many tricks to help you simplify and improve the management of your chronic health conditions. By working with members of your health care team, pharmacists can help you become a healthy – and happier – person.

Help managing chronic health conditions is just one of the convenient services your pharmacist can provide. Your pharmacist is an expert on medications and their effects on the body. We encourage you to take advantage of their expertise. 

March is Pharmacist Awareness Month in Canada.  Each week your pharmacy will be spotlighting a different pharmacy service they provide. Watch for special events that will be taking place in your community pharmacy during the month of  March.

Remember, if you need help with your chronic health condition, it’s not a problem. The pharmacist is in.



Valuable Links

Asthma or COPD video on how to use an inhaler:


Canadian Diabetes Association – Link

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) 

Heart and Stroke Foundation – Link