National Heart Failure Awareness Week is set for February 13-19, 2011. This week is a time for health care providers to remind patients with heart failure, patients' families, and all others at risk about the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure affects nearly five million individuals in the United States. The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) suggests that to combat this dangerous condition, it's important that all are aware of early prevention tactics, important lifestyle risks and treatment management options.
According to Barry M. Massie, M.D., HFSA president and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and Chief of the Cardiology Division at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, most cases of heart failure are preventable by early detection and treatment of hypertension and reduction of coronary disease risk factors. Dietary interventions, such as decrease in salt intake and prevention of obesity also can prevent heart failure.
"Early manifestations of heart failure are often unrecognized or attributed to aging or de-conditioning," said Massie. "HFSA is determined to educate people about ways to recognize the initial signs and symptoms of heart failure, when it is most responsive to treatment. National Heart Failure Awareness Week is an opportunity to showcase facts, resources and opportunities that can help the public better understand this medical condition. Because of National Heart Failure Week, physicians, nurses, patients and their families, and at risk individuals will have the chance to become more informed. Heart failure can be prevented, and survival rates can increase with proper care, diagnosis and effective treatment."
HFSA has developed a Heart Failure Education website, www.abouthf.org, to share heart failure information, education modules and prevention techniques. The site includes guidelines and education modules about following a low sodium diet, exercise tips, managing medications, heart rhythm problems, and other factors commonly associated with heart failure. While not intended to replace regular medical care, these guidelines and modules can help patients and at risk individuals, family and friends communicate better with their health care provider. The modules are written in easy-to-read language and can be downloaded free of charge.
To bring attention to this growing heath problem in the United States, the US Senate passed a Resolution in 2000 declaring the week of Valentine's Day National Heart Failure Awareness Week.
About Heart Failure
Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened after it is injured, most commonly from heart attack or high blood pressure, and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects from 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a "death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit www.abouthf.org
About the Heart Failure Society of America
The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. The HFSA provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional information on HFSA can be found at www.hfsa.org