The mobile health revolution is in full swing and text reminders play an important role in improving outcomes of patients with cardiac disease.
Written to motivate and inform patients, text messages have been shown to have a positive impact on health, helping to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index (BMI).
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the authors found that:
Getting texts with motivating and informative messages led patients with coronary heart disease to make behavior changes like exercising more and smoking less. By the end of the six-month study, patients who had received the text messages had reduced their cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index (BMI).
The findings showed that several risk factors for heart disease improved thanks to the text messages.
The study design was a randomized clinical trial. More than 700 patients with coronary heart disease were divided into two groups. Half received four text messages per week for six months plus the usual care, while the other half received just the usual care.
Text reminders were semi-personalized, motivating and informative.
The texts that patients received were somewhat personalized and directed to them based on information the researchers had about each person. For example, whether the patient smoked or if they were vegetarian factored in to the types of texts sent. Texts might include reminders to exercise or take medication at a certain time of day.
The study authors summarized the health value of text reminders:
Globally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. ‘If we are going to reach a global population, we need solutions that are both scalable and affordable…And mobile health – and text messaging, maybe, in particular – represents both a scalable and affordable approach,’ [said Zubin Eapen, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine].
Text reminders helped heart patients make vital lifestyle changes.
No doubt — making healthy living changes is tough. But if you have heart disease or risk factors that could contribute to heart disease, you need to pay attention and be willing to make some lifestyle decisions.
Smartphones are virtually everywhere—so much so that you rarely leave home without them. Since your phone goes where you go, using text reminders to prompt you about healthy habits makes sense.
Start using your smartphone for text messages; focus on what you want to achieve.
Make daily goal setting a habit and part of your lifestyle change strategy and step on your road to improved wellness.
Need help? Download apps like CraveMate or free CraveMateLite, both of which were recommended by University of Alabama (UAB) Medicine News in a post entitled 10 Healthy Apps to Help You Reach Your Wellness Goals.