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National Heart Failure Awareness Week February 8-14, 2009: Visit www.abouthf.org to Learn More About Heart Failure
Date:2/9/2009

Patients, Families, Caregivers and Individuals at risk are encouraged to learn about Heart Failure-how to prevent it and to successfully manage and live with it during Heart Failure Awareness Week February 8-14, 2009

Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) Provides 11 Fact-Filled Education Modules Available at www.abouthf.org

NEW YORK, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- National Heart Failure Awareness Week is set for February 8-14. This is a time for physicians and other health providers to remind patients with heart failure, those at risk and family members of patients how to best manage this syndrome, what heart failure means, to re-evaluate life style and consider changes to improve quality of life. Visit www.abouthf.org to learn more about following a low sodium diet, exercise do's and don'ts, managing medications, heart rhythm problems, and other factors commonly associated with heart failure. These modules are written in easy to read and understand language and can be downloaded free of charge.

While not intended to replace regular medical care, these modules can help patients and at risk individuals, family and friends communicate better with their doctor or nurse. For patients diagnosed with the disease and/or caretakers, Module #1, "Taking Control of Your Heart Failure," provides an overview of the causes for heart failure and how to best care for yourself and manage symptoms, such as being diligent with prescribed medication regimens, the importance of a low-sodium diet and living a smoke-free lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and weight management.

Heart failure is very prominent in society as nearly five million Americans live with this condition and as many as 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. While patients are not alone, heart failure is often still difficult to endure for the many individuals it affects and they often experience feelings of depression and anxiety after diagnosis. Guidelines in Module #6, "Managing Feelings About Heart Failure," can help patients and loved ones learn that they can manage emotions related to heart failure and ease feelings of distress, which is very important to the overall success of a heart failure treatment plan. The module also aims to help patients recognize symptoms of both depression (irritability, excessive sleepiness, feelings of hopelessness) and also anxiety (feelings of fear, tension, excessive worry and restlessness) so that they may know when to seek professional help as it is needed.

"Common signs of heart failure are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood," said Dr. Barry Greenberg, HFSA Immediate Past President, Professor of Medicine and Director, Advanced Heart Failure Treatment Program at the University of California, San Diego. "It is the goal of HFSA to educate people about the common signs and symptoms of heart failure. National Heart Failure Awareness Week is a chance to highlight the facts, resources and opportunities that can help physicians, nurses, patients and their families, and at risk individuals better understand heart failure. Heart failure can be prevented and with proper care and diagnosis, can be effectively treated to allow many patients to live longer and more fulfilling lives."

Available on the hfsa.org website are additional educational modules, such as "Tips for Family and Friends," advice for "Advance Care Planning," and help on "How to Follow a Low-Sodium Diet," with other information available, such as a DVD and brochure, "What you should know about heart failure," the FACES heart failure card, which lists prevention measures, symptoms and risk factors for heart failure, and many other useful resources.

Nationally renowned HFSA cardiologists are available for both print and broadcast interviews.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormal after damage from heart attack or high blood pressure and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects from 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggest the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a "death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit www.abouthf.org.

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized society of heart failure experts in the Americas. Today HFSA has over 1,700 members and provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS), private industry and health care providers. Additional information on HFSA and Heart Failure Awareness Week can be found at www.hfsa.org.


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SOURCE The Heart Failure Society of America
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