Heart failure is a treatable condition but often not picked up early

17 May 2023

Heart Failure awareness week took place last week (1-7 May) and North West London ICS ran a campaign to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Heart failure has a higher death risk than many cancers and in the UK 200,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure every year.

Carla Plymen, Heart Failure Cardiologist said: “This is a very treatable condition but is not often picked up early.”

Symptoms include;

  • breathlessness,
  • walking or running less far than you would normally be able to
  • breathlessness when lying flat.
  • swollen legs or ankles

Dr Plyman continues: “Heart failure is a condition when the heart doesn’t work as well as it used to. The heart is a pump and sometimes the pump can become weak.

“There are many medications that can be used to help both relieve the symptoms and improve the function of the heart and the earlier that these drugs can be started the better that we can have patients feeling.”

Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working. It means it needs some support to help it work better.

Speaking to your GP and getting a blood test can mean an early diagnosis and the start of treatment before becoming so sick that you need hospital care - 80% of people with heart failure are diagnosed for the first time in hospital; early treatment can prevent this.

Carys Barton, Heart Failure Nurse Consultant said: “It is vital we recognise the signs and symptoms of heart failure and get help and a diagnosis to start specialist therapies as quickly as possible.”

There has been significant progression with treatment and the future is much brighter for those living with heart failure.

If you have concerns speak to a GP to see if heart failure is a likely diagnosis or rule it out.

Find out more information here - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-failure/


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