GALWAY THE FIRST OF 40 EUROPEAN CITIES TO LAUNCH GLOBAL CAMPAIGN ‘ACTING ON HEART FAILURE’
- ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ is a patient-group led initiative dedicated to increasing global awareness of heart failure Galway is the first city to launch this European campaign
- Mayors from cities across Europe have united behind the International Heart Hub (ihhub) – of which Croí is a founding member– to help raise awareness of heart failure and call for local action to improve the lives of those living with the condition.
- It is estimated that 90,000 people live with the condition in Ireland, and up to 60 million people worldwide
The Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Pearce Flannery and the Mayor of County Galway, Cllr Eileen Mannion, (Friday May 4th) joined forces at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre to be the first City and County in Europe to launch the ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ global awareness initiative. Galway is one of 40 cities across Europe to participate in this global patient-group led heart failure awareness campaign. The month of May is European Heart Failure Awareness Month, and Mayors from across Europe have united with the International Heart Hub (ihhub www.ihhub.org) which is a global alliance of heart failure patient organisations to commit to raising awareness of heart failure and call for local action to improve the lives of those living with the condition. The ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ Campaign in Europe is being co-ordinated by local Heart & Stroke charity Croí.
Heart Failure is a specific and serious heart condition which is debilitating and life-threatening, affecting people of all ages but is most prevalent in the over 60’s, being the most frequent cause of hospitalization in people over the age of 65. It is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body because the muscle of the heart becomes too weak or too stiff to work properly. If poorly treated it has a worse prognosis than many forms of cancer. However, with access to timely diagnosis, appropriate medical management and follow-up services, a patient’s prognosis can be significantly improved. Due to Ireland’s ageing population, heart failure is set to increase dramatically, leading to an increase in hospital admissions from heart failure of more than 50% over the next 25 years.
Approximately, 90,000 people in Ireland; 15 million people in Europe and 60 million people worldwide are living with heart failure, many with very poor quality of life due to poor initial recognition of symptoms; poor or late diagnosis; inequity of access to specialist care, including heart failure nurse specialists and low availability of community shared and continued care
Speaking at the launch today in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre, Croí CEO Neil Johnson said “Croí is delighted to lead this European Initiative. It’s time heart failure patients were heard. We are teaming up with patient organisations across the globe, including the Heartbeat Trust here in Ireland, to join the global newly unified patient voice to call for better services and care. The reason for this European Campaign is that in Ireland and across Europe, Heart Failure has been for too long a forgotten condition in health policy despite its enormous economic impact and the huge burden carried by those living with the condition. Consequently, there are huge challenges which need to be tackled”
The ‘Acting on Heart Failure Campaign’ has 5 key objectives, namely;
- Improve public understanding of what Heart Failure is – While the term Heart Failure is very negative and can be very scary – early diagnosis & proper management can give a good quality of life
- Help people recognise the symptoms of Heart Failure – Unfortunately, the typical symptoms are often mistaken as normal signs of aging
- Help people differentiate Heart Failure from other heart conditions – Less than 5% of the general public know what heart failure is. It is not a heart attack and it’s not a cardiac arrest, and these terms are often used interchangeably without knowing the difference. In simple terms, a heart attack is a ‘plumbing problem’, cardiac arrest is an ‘electrical problem’ and Heart Failure is a ‘pumping problem
- Educate people on who can be affected by Heart Failure – People of all ages can develop heart failure, primarily linked to anything that damages the heart muscle eg high blood pressure, heart attack or a virus. Most heart failure is due to heart disease and most frequently occurs in the older years but it’s not just an older person’s disease
- Provide support to people with Heart Failure – Because HF is largely a chronic disease, those living with it have huge needs for support and understanding and much needs to be done in this area, particularly in terms of psychological support.
Cities across Europe are supporting the ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ Campaign keep up to date here.
The Heartbeat Trust, Ireland takes part in the in the European Campaign ‘Acting on Heart Failure’.
The ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ team at Parsirdi.lv in Latvia will be holding a health screening and awareness event on the 17th of May in Liepāja.
Exciting ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ events on the horizon in Germany! On the 26th of May, Herzschwäche Franken e.V., a Heart Failure support group in Germany, will be leading a Heart Failure Patient Day! The mayor of Nurnberg will address guests at the event and pledge support for Heart Failure.
Lithuania supports ‘Acting on Heart Failure’ European Campaign – As an indication of support for Heart Failure patients, the city of Vilnius will light up the Mindaugas Bridge in the colour red.