'Freedom From Failure - The F Word'
Nobody likes to talk about failure. We hide from it, shy away from it. Society demands positivity. And so, we do not necessarily take the time or put the effort into learning from failure.
Heart Failure is a misunderstood and misdiagnosed condition, as malignant as some of the most common cancers, it should be treated with the same urgency. Yet, the condition, the term, does not reside in the public consciousness with anything like the same threat. Nor does it seem to be as urgent to the healthcare profession at large. It is hidden from view, almost invisible. With the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this issue has become more pressing than ever, with at least 23,000 missed cases of heart failure in the last year that we know about.
The British Society for Heart Failure, the professional association of heart failure specialists in the UK, wishes to address this lack of awareness in their quest to make heart failure a national priority. We need an early warning system whereby people recognise the symptoms that come to form heart failure, prompting early diagnosis and access to specialist care for those that need it.
Heart failure is the reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body properly. It usually occurs because the heart has become too weak or stiff. Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working. But hearts do fail and the diagnosis can be devastating. Twenty years ago, there were very few treatments apart from palliative symptom relief for those with heart failure. However, we have made incredible advances and now have a plethora of medications, devices and surgical interventions that can both extend and improve length of life and quality of life. The earlier people present with symptoms, the faster they can get access to heart failure specialist care and evidence-based treatment.
Our campaign, Freedom from Failure – The F Word, has been developed to inform and educate whilst inspiring a sense of hope, encouraging each of us to learn more about this important condition, to recognise symptoms such as Fighting for breath, Fatigue and Fluid build-up in ourselves and our loved ones and to seek timely medical help.