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New Survey Suggests Confusion, Lack of Awareness About Heart Failure Could Be Preventing Critical Early Detection and Treatment
Date:2/12/2008

nclude coughing or wheezing; fatigue from everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries; shortness of breath from everyday activities; swelling of the arms, ankles, feet, abdomen or lower back; and unexplained weight gain or weight loss.

High Prevalence of Risk Factors Warrant Vigilance

Certain risk factors and combinations of risk factors are known to place people in greater danger for developing heart failure. According to this recent survey, eighty-eight percent of U.S. adults have at least one risk factor for developing heart failure. These include lifestyle habits (72 percent), such as being overweight (44 percent), lack of regular exercise (36 percent), eating a diet high in fat and cholesterol (39 percent), and smoking (17 percent); personal medical conditions (51 percent), such as high blood pressure (28 percent), diabetes (9 percent), or high cholesterol (28 percent); and a family history of certain conditions (61 percent), such as high blood pressure (39 percent) and heart failure (21 percent).

"Knowing the risk factors for heart failure is vital -- if you have one or more risk factors, you need to be particularly vigilant for symptoms," said Sue Koob, MPA, Executive Director of PCNA. "It's equally important to know that if you lead a healthy, active life beginning at a young age, you often can avoid these risk factors and prevent getting heart failure."

Four Ways Every Day to Manage Heart Failure

According to the survey findings, over a quarter of U.S. adults (29 percent) don't know that heart failure can be treated with medications, and one-third (32 percent) don't know that many people with heart failure can lead a normal life. In addition, nearly two in five U.S. adults (38 percent) don't know that eating salty foods can make heart failure worse.

The Fight Against Heart Failure(SM) program is designed to teach patients about the "Four Ways Every Day" to manage heart failure, including diet,
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SOURCE American Association of Heart Failure Nurses
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