High death rates raise alarm to recognize Heart Failure as a public health priority: Experts

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Pune, May 2018: On the occasion of World Heart Failure Awareness month in May,prominent cardiologists from the country have highlighted the need to recognize heart failure as a public health priority in India.Heart failure kills almost 23% of Indian patients within one-year of diagnosis.[1].Heart failure is a global health problem, affecting about 26 million people worldwide. The disease burden of heart failure is around 10 million in India

[2]. The disease presents a major and growing health-economic burden that currently costs the world economy $108 billion every year, which accounts for both direct and indirect costs.[3]

Dr. Shirish Hiremath, former President, Cardiological Society of India (CSI), said, “There is a need to develop a robust approach to combat heart failure which is emerging as an epidemic in India. The variation in mortality in low-income countries like India can be attributed to low awareness, economic burden, healthcare infrastructure, quality and access to primary healthcare facilities, environmental and genetic factors which results in increasing incidence of heart failure.”

An ongoing study published by JAMA Cardiology, revealed that new advanced treatment options for Heart Failure significantly improved 7 out of 10 types of physical and social activities in heart failure patients at 8 months.[4]

The analysisexplored the positive effects of treatment on routine activities, ultimately improving the quality of life of heart failure patients2:

· Dressing

· Showering

· Climbing a flight of stairs

· Walking 100 meters

· Visiting family or friends

· Jogging

· Gardening

· Hobbies

· Doing household chores

· Intimate/sexual relationships

The study enrolled more than 7,000 heart failure patients and revealed that advanced treatment options helped in reducing mortality and hospitalization among patients and also havepositive impact on their quality of life.

Understanding heart failure

Heart failure and heart attack are often confused. Heart attack is a sudden event which occurs when one of the heart’s own blood vessel is blocked. It requires emergency medical treatment. Whereas, Heart failure is a chronic/progressive disease condition in which the heart muscle responsible for the pumping action weakens or stiffens over time.As a reason the heart fails to efficiently pump enough blood around the body, starving all the other organs of oxygen and other nutrients.Heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart is about to stop working. Despite the name, experts clarified that ‘Heart failure’ does not mean the heart is quitting.