The WellPals initiative aims to educate the community, so heart and blood related diseases and obesity can be prevented, without requiring a hospital visit.
Suwanee, GA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/20/2018 --Dr. Anthony Pothoulakis has spent most of his professional life trying to educate people about prevention. Specifically, the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. While practicing as a physician, he's encountered many cases in which patients were subjected to unnecessary procedures that could have been avoided, and others whose well intentioned, but uninformed, friends and family gave them poor advice; advice that could have cost their lives. With his latest book, Arteries in Harmony: Defending Our Arteries, Protecting Our Lives, And Preserving Our Happiness In The Era of Obesity And Diabetes, Dr. Pothoulakis dives into the numbers and facts regarding the current epidemic of such diseases the American population faces. He then proposes solutions which can - and should - start within the community. With changes in the school environment, the workplace, and at home, he believes it is possible to reduce the scary levels of diabetes, obesity, and other heart and blood related diseases threatening people all over the country.
One of Dr. Pothoulakis solutions is WellPals, a community based program that aims to train non-healthcare professionals about basic healthcare procedures, while at the same time equipping them with enough knowledge to serve as a beacon of information among their peers. According to Anthony, "WellPals will consist of a friendly army of knowledgeable volunteers who will become the first line of defense against the obesity-diabetes-artery disease epidemic. They will be providing guidance and support to their family members, friends, and coworkers. They will be trained in a way similar to how non-health care professionals learn to perform CPR. They will know a thing or two about what a healthy lifestyle is and will act as an approachable liaison between medicine and the common man. As they grow in numbers and achieve a critical mass, they will be able to defeat the epidemic!"
The main reason for this idea is his own experience with thousands and thousands of patients who suffered from these conditions. More often than not, Dr. Pothoulakis would first meet patients during an acute situation, a time when a condition had escalated due to the patient having sought advice from friends and family, instead of from a medical professional. It's expected that most people are more inclined to heed a loved one's suggestion, rather than seek a medical opinion right away. With this in mind, Anthony proposed that the best way to avoid such situations is to prepare, educate, and train volunteers who want to assist their community by providing information and proper advice. In addition, the volunteers must have a desire to help reshape the public's perception of a healthy lifestyle and to teach them about the seriousness and effects of diabetes and the long-term damage obesity can cause; a way to re-engineer society's lifestyle in general, hopefully decreasing the amount of diagnoses and fatalities caused by these illnesses.
As Dr. Pothoulakis puts it, "These "knowledge agents" will be lay people, not health professionals, but they will be motivated, intelligent, enthusiastic, and willing to learn the basic facts about obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease. They will not need to learn the biology details that doctors and nurses learn. A WellPal volunteer will be a person you already know and trust; a person with whom you feel comfortable. When you talk with a WellPal, there will be no apprehension, no deductibles, and no co-pays." In an era where added sugars and fats are ever present, prevention is the key to a healthier future, not only for ourselves, but for generations to come.