On 11th, 12th and 13th of May (depending on the country) Heart Failure Awareness Days across Europe are organized.
What is Heart Failure? Heart failure is a condition, were the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood in a sufficient matter around the body. It is often a result of coronary heart disease, heart attack or high blood pressure, conditions having a weakening impact on the heart. Symptoms may be shortness of breath, coughing, weight gain, swollen ankles, tiredness, weakness or rapid hear rate. Heart failure is a chronic condition but by adapting your lifestyle e.g. reducing intake of salt, fat and alcohol, stop smoking and adapting mild physical activity life can be prolonged. Each year 3.6 million people in Europe are diagnosed with the chronic disease, however it can be prevented by controlling other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, lowering cholesterol levels, limit alcohol intake, regular exercise and not smoking.
For more detailed information on heart failure and some interactive videos click here.
Last year Austria won a prize for its Heart Failure Awareness Day and throughout 2011 managed to keep the issue in the public’s attention via radio programmes. This year they are organizing a press conference in Vienna, raising awareness through a national PR campaign, folders on heart failure will be distributed in hospitals and private practices of family physicians and internists/cardiologists. In addition, a 3-Country meeting (Austria Germany, Switzerland) to educate doctors on heart failure will take place. In Latvia awareness is raised through mass media and lectures for doctors, patients and family members are given. Turkey will participate for the first time by announcing the awareness day in newspapers and distributing information to medical staff.
What will you do to raise awareness of heart failure? If you want to get involved, on European Society of Cardiology’s website promotion material can be downloaded.