A recent poll carried out by British Society For Heart Failure (BSH), found that more than half of people aged 50 years+ would not be able to recognise heart failure symptoms in themselves or others.
The BSH poll findings echo those of a global survey held last year by the World Heart Federation (WHF). This survey demonstrated low awareness among the public of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. It also showed a lack of knowledge of the societal and economic burden of the disease among policymakers.
It is well documented that better outcomes can be achieved for those with heart failure if diagnosis and treatment, guided by a heart failure specialist, are initiated early.
According to a recent NICE Impact report, hospital doctors diagnose 80% of heart failure cases. But 40% of people had symptoms that should have triggered an earlier assessment in primary care.
This suggests that many people who are living with undiagnosed heart failure are only seeking medical help when they enter hospital as an emergency admission.
The BSH awareness campaign aims to reassure and encourage people showing symptoms of heart failure that to seek medical advice early is preferable to becoming an emergency admission, if avoidable.
Heart failure is an insidious condition. It’s symptoms include:
Breathlessness/fighting for breath
Fluid build-up/weight gain, swelling often noticeable in the ankles
If you recognise these symptoms in yourself or those around you, please seek medical advice.
BSH Chair, Dr Simon Williams, Consultant Cardiologist, Heart Failure Specialist commented:
“Heart failure is arguably the biggest success story of modern day medicine. We have made extraordinary progress over the last two decades.
“Whilst it remains an often debilitating condition, it is possible for sufferers to live well with appropriate management.
“Outcomes can be dramatically improved through earlier, faster diagnosis. This is an important aim of the care we provide as Heart Failure Specialists.”
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