Heart Failure Awareness Week: Affinity Health Discusses Matters Of The Heart
This week (9-15 February) is Heart Failure Awareness Week, and Affinity Health is committed to spreading the word on this serious condition that affects over 23 million people worldwide (and these are just the ones diagnosed!).
Affinity Health takes a look at the signs and symptoms of heart failure and stresses the importance of early diagnosis and regular screenings.
Heart failure, sometimes referred to as congestive heart failure, is a serious condition caused by the inefficient pumping of the heart. It usually happens because the muscle in the heart has become too weak or stiff to yield optimal performance. The heart is put under strain and can’t keep up with the daily requirements placed on it over time to pump blood into the rest of your body.
While heart failure can involve the right side of your heart (or both sides of your heart), more often than not, it begins with the left ventricle, which is your heart’s main pumping chamber.
“While heart failure sounds like a death sentence, it does not mean that your heart is about to stop working, and you’re going to drop dead on the spot. Rather, it means that your heart needs a little help to do its job,” explains Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett.
Heart failure symptoms usually develop quickly (acute heart failure), but they can also develop gradually (chronic heart failure). Breathlessness, feeling very tired, and swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles, and feet are the main heart failure symptoms.
Other heart failure signs and symptoms may include:
∙ Speedy or irregular heartbeat
∙ Reduced capacity for exercise
∙ Persistent cough or wheezing with phlegm tinged by white or pink blood
∙ Increased need for night-time urination
∙ Your abdomen swelling (ascites)
∙ Very rapid gain in weight from fluid retention
∙ Lack of appetite
∙ Difficulty focusing or reduced alertness
∙ Sudden, severe shortness of breath
∙ Chest pain
Remember, the earlier you diagnose your condition, the better your outlook will be. Consult your family doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a heart specialist or cardiologist who can discuss various treatment options depending on your overall health and how far your condition has progressed.
Meanwhile, lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing sodium in your diet, managing stress, and losing weight, can improve your quality of life, and go a long way in keeping your heart healthy and happy.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.