Bethesda, MD (January 2014) – The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) would like to announce that Heart Failure Awareness Week (HFAW) is February 8-14, 2015. Through a Resolution in Congress in 2000, HFSA launched Heart Failure Awareness Week to raise awareness of this life-threatening disease and to encourage provider to patient education on the risks of this condition and methods with which it may be combated.
Heart failure is a progressive condition that affects over five million Americans of all ages and is responsible for more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined. It is responsible for 11 million physician visits each year. Over 400,000 new cases of heart failure will be diagnosed in the next year. Yet, many people with heart failure are not aware they have it, because some of the most common symptoms of heart failure, such as feeling tired and short of breath, are often mistaken for normal signs of getting older.
To aid in patient education efforts during HFAW, HFSA has updated resource materials for HFAW 2015. These include the “Who Is The Patient With Heart Failure – FACES Card”, an educational material card that lists the symptoms and risk factors for heart failure and can be distributed to patients. Other downloadable materials include heart failure awareness event planning guidelines and templates. These can be located at the HFSA website here.
The HFSA website also includes published guidelines, a DVD and education modules designed to help patients and their loved ones, and individuals at risk communicate better with their doctor, nurse or pharmacist. While not intended to replace regular medical care, these guidelines and modules cover a variety of topics, ranging from lifestyle changes, exercise and activity, tips for a low-sodium diet, advance care planning, and others.
Also, patients may try to avoid symptoms by making lifestyle changes. With early diagnosis and newer treatments, people with heart failure are able to continue enjoying their everyday activities and have a more normal life expectancy.
Healthcare providers have an ideal opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles and educating their patients on the statistics, signs and symptoms, and the guidelines of living with heart failure. Early prevention tactics, important lifestyle risks, and treatment management options, including clinical trials all can contribute to helping individuals living with heart failure to avoid early hospital readmission.
About the Heart Failure Society of America