This week is Heart Failure Awareness Week. This campaign aims to raise awareness of heart failure and highlight what it is like to live with heart failure. The DCM Foundation is proud to support this campaign, led by the Heart Failure Patient Council* of the Global Heart Hub.
Heart failure is a serious chronic condition, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living. You see, Heart Failure doesn’t mean your heart is about to stop. It just means your heart muscle isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. It is estimated that 60 million people worldwide are living with heart failure today, and with the right medication and lifestyle, it can be controlled.
Know The Symptoms of Heart Failure
Heart failure can affect different people in different ways. Symptoms can come on suddenly and be initially severe (acute heart failure) or they can appear over time and gradually get worse (chronic heart failure). If you have heart failure, you may have one, or a combination, of these symptoms. The more common symptoms of heart disease are:
- Extreme tiredness or no energy
- Loss of appetite
- More frequent urination, especially at night
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Shortness of breath, even when lying down
- Swelling in the ankles/feet/stomach
- Weight gain over a short period of time (> 5 lbs over 2 days)
By themselves, any one sign of heart failure may not be cause for alarm. But if you have one or more of these symptoms, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any heart problems, you should visit your GP and ask the question “Could I have heart failure?”.
Manage Your Heart Failure
If you are living with heart failure, there are lots of things you can do to help manage your condition, including medical treatments, adjusting your lifestyle, and self-management.
- Connect regularly with your heart failure nurse or doctor
- Track your symptoms and seek help if you develop new or worsening symptoms
- Take your medications as prescribed
- Eat a healthy diet, with limited salt intake
- Get regular physical activity
- Join a support group for people living with heart failure
- Spread the word about the symptoms of heart failure.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of people with heart failure.
* The Heart Failure Patient Council is an alliance of patient organizations from across the globe, working with heart failure patients and their carers.