Over 45,000 Scots have heart failure warns charity

Heart attack

Awareness campaign launched to help combat effects of one of the country's biggest killers 

2nd June 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

More needs to be done to help 45,000 Scots diagnosed with heart failure, according to a leading charity. 

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland says up to a third of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure will die within 12 months but awareness of the disease can increase survival rates significantly.

Throughout June BHF Scotland is raising awareness of the condition, which is relatively unknown among the public, and says more research into heart failure is urgently needed to help the thousands of sufferers in Scotland.

Heart failure is most commonly caused by a heart attack which causes damage to the heart muscle that can never be repaired.

This means a person’s heart fails to pump blood around the body efficiently, leaving many sufferers in a constant fight for a good quality of life. Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath and fluid retention.

While there is medication to manage the condition and control symptoms, there is currently no cure, and the only hope for some with severe heart failure is a heart transplant to save their life. Those with mild or moderate heart failure may be able to live a more normal life with the right medication.

Susan Innes (pictured) had a heart attack last December aged 50 which has left her with heart failure.

She now recognises that she didn’t seek medical help quickly enough, but she didn’t believe the signs pointed to heart attack.

She says: “I was reasonably fit and followed a healthy diet because I’ve had diabetes since my 40s.

“Through my own naivety my heart is damaged because I didn’t see the signs for what they were and I delayed calling an ambulance.

“I’m not such a fast walker anymore and small hills are really tiring. Lifting a weight, like a bag of shopping, isn’t as easy, and I just can’t zip around the house doing the chores anymore.

“But I look at the positives. Medication and a healthy diet are keeping me well. And I’m still here, I’m still alive.”

Through the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, the BHF is funding a team at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh to explore a range of approaches to understand the consequences of heart failure on the body and to help discover new approaches to its treatment.

Professor Newby, the BHF John Wheatley Professor of Cardiology at the BHF Centre of Research Excellence, University of Edinburgh, said: “People with heart failure are in a desperate situation. This is why we do what we do. Through the power of research we want to give hope and a better quality of life to people with debilitating conditions like heart failure, and give hope to their loved ones too.”