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Heart failure: We should know these first signs


Awareness campaign warns of the dangers of heart failure

There are signs which, for most people, at first glance certainly do not indicate one of the most common diseases in Europe and the Western world - the so-called heart failure. Occurring signs are often not recognized at all or simply not taken seriously. Over the course of the 2017 Heart Weeks, experts are now treating heart failure as a key issue. A big campaign is supposed to lead to a better education about the dangerous illness.

The scientists of the German Heart Foundation have now warned of the dangers of cardiac insufficiency during the heart weeks. This disease is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. The doctors of the German Heart Foundation published a press release on the heart weeks that take place with the main topic: The weak heart.

Many sufferers do not recognize the first signs of heart failure

There are many minor complaints that can indicate dangerous heart failure. These include, for example, a drop in performance, shortness of breath, swollen legs and feet, rapid fatigue and a persistent cough, the doctors say. A big problem with the timely treatment of heart failure is that most of those affected do not recognize these first signs at all. The signs that appear are often not taken seriously or attributed to advanced age.

Hundreds of thousands of patients hospitalized every year for heart failure

Heart failure is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. Every year, around 400,000 people are hospitalized for heart failure. A major problem with developing heart failure is that it is usually not recognized and treated early. As a result, the likelihood of effective treatment is significantly reduced. For example, in 2015 alone, around 445,000 patients with heart failure were hospitalized and over 44,500 suffered from the dangerous illness.

It is very important to recognize signs as early as possible

"One of the reasons for the high mortality rate of the heart weakness is that many affected people do not know symptoms typical of the disease, such as shortness of breath, reduced performance and swollen legs with ankle edema (water retention) or postpone it with resignation," warns Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Meinertz, CEO of the German Heart Foundation. This is particularly fatal for the affected people, because early detection of heart failure and consistent treatment of the causes increase the likelihood that a life-threatening course of the disease will be prevented, the expert adds.

Too few people receive optimal treatment

Despite the fact that therapy options are getting better and better, many of the people affected are not receiving optimal treatment. This is not infrequently because the options for treatment are too little known. The Heart Week awareness campaign is now about to change this. On November 15, the cardiology department of the St. Vincenz Hospital will also be holding an informational event on the important topic of heart failure together with the German Heart Foundation in the Limburg town hall at 6 p.m.

People have to learn to recognize important signals and symptoms in good time

The more people recognize their personal risk of cardiovascular diseases, the easier it is to counteract the disease, say the scientists. If an onset of heart failure is detected early, immediate treatment can save sufferers from premature death. However, in order to be able to recognize the disease at an early stage, the signals and symptoms of heart failure must be identified and interpreted in good time.

Women are particularly at risk

Unfortunately, many of the sufferers usually go to a doctor too late. This is particularly annoying because early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease. Women in particular should be aware of the symptoms and should see a doctor as soon as they occur, because women have a significantly increased risk of dying from heart failure.

In Germany around two to three million people suffer from heart failure

In Germany alone, the number of patients with heart failure is estimated at two to three million cases. Of course, the diagnosis of heart failure in the people concerned raises many questions. For example, whether a normal life with a weak heart is possible at all or which measures lead to an improvement. The experts will provide answers to these and other questions at their information event, at which the representatives of the German Heart Foundation will also be present.

Deutsche Herzstiftung publishes a brochure on the subject

“Despite the fact that therapy options are getting better and better, many patients are not receiving optimal treatment, which is often because these options are too little known. We have to change this with the help of the Heart Week awareness campaign, ”emphasizes Prof. Meinertz. On the occasion of the heart weeks, the foundation also published a new brochure entitled: The weak heart - diagnosis and therapy of heart failure today. The heart weeks take place nationwide from November 1st to 30th. (as)

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