Raise the Flag on Heart Failure this May

 

 

 

This May, it’s time to take action and raise the flag on the danger signs and symptoms of heart failure.

Heart failure is a specific heart condition with many causes, the most common being heart attack, heart disease, heart valve disease, high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, certain infections of the heart, or heart problems you were born with. Heart failure affects over 26 million people worldwide, and is increasing in prevalence. As many as 1 in 5 people over the age of 40 will develop heart failure in their lifetime. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Heart failure is a chronic and often complex condition which can take years to develop or it can happen quickly at times.

The earliest symptoms of heart failure are often very subtle, but it’s dangerous to ignore them. Early diagnosis of heart failure is very important so as to ensure optimal treatment, and this can significantly benefit those living with the condition. That’s why Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, are joining with The Global Heart Hub and over 20 organisations across 15 counties worldwide to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure.

On May 10th and on the following three Fridays (May 17th, May 24th and May 31st), we invite you to join us and raise a red flag on heart failure. By raising a red flag, we aim to highlight the danger signs and symptoms of heart failure. For those experiencing these symptoms, we encourage them to visit their GP and to ask the question “Could I have heart failure?”

Unfortunately, awareness of risk factors and the signs and symptoms of heart failure is very low across the world. Red flag symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and swollen limbs. Signs of heart failure may also be associated with an underlying heart problem. Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Coughing/wheezing
  • 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 (>2kg 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?”.