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Know your risk of heart failure

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Know your risk of heart failure

30th April 2024 - Hot Topics

Health and care staff from across the Black Country are raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure as part of this year’s Heart Failure Awareness (HFA) Week.

Taking place from Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May, HFA aims to raise awareness of heart failure to help people understand if they are among those at risk. This year’s theme is “Detect the undetected”, focusing on individuals who remain undiagnosed and emphasising the significance of early intervention, which can have a profound impact on improving lives and outcomes.

Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body as required. It usually happens because the heart has become too weak or stiff. It is a long-term condition that tends to get gradually worse over time. It can’t usually be cured, however the symptoms can often be controlled for many years.

The main symptoms of heart failure include:

  • breathlessness after activity or at rest
  • feeling tired most of the time and finding exercising exhausting
  • feeling lightheaded or fainting
  • swollen ankles and legs.

Some people also experience other symptoms such as a persistent cough, a fast heart rate and dizziness. Symptoms can develop quickly or gradually over weeks or months.

During HFA week, heart failure specialist teams in Dudley, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall will be visiting hospitals and in local communities to provide information about the signs and symptoms of heart failure in partnership with heart failure charity, Pumping Marvellous Foundation.

The teams will be at the following locations throughout the week with the health promotion van:

Monday 29 April

  • Bilston Market, Pinfold Street, Wolverhampton, WV140DN, 8am-2pm
  • Tesco, Silver Street, Brownhills, Walsall, WS86DZ, 9am-3pm

Tuesday 30 April

  • Tesco, Fox Oak Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5DF, 9am-3pm

Thursday 2 May

  • Tesco, New Square, West Bromwich, B70 7PR, 9am-3pm

Friday 3 May

Dudley Market Place, High Street, Dudley, DY1 1PQ, 9am-2pm

Dr Matt Banks, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working, but you may need support to help it to work better and to manage your symptoms.

“The earlier people present with symptoms, the faster they can get access to heart failure specialist care and treatment. Undiagnosed heart failure can lead to serious health consequences, which is why it’s important for people to understand the symptoms and causes of heart failure.

“The events we have coming up in our hospitals, and out in our communities, will help get people thinking about whether they could be among those who are undiagnosed and take steps so they can look after their future.”

Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “Heart failure is a serious long-term condition that will usually continue to get slowly worse over time.

“It’s vital that we raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure, to make sure people get any treatment they need and are offered support to help them live well.

“If you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure, see your GP as soon as you can. The symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions, but it’s a good idea to get them checked out.”

If you have symptoms of heart failure, your GP may offer you some checks and a blood test to see how well your heart if working. If your blood test shows you might have heart failure, your GP should refer you to a specialist heart failure team and you may be offered further tests.

For more information on heart failure, visit the NHS website.