Poll finds heart failure knowledge is lacking

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 - Heart Failure - Don't use until 3/1/12

Although most people are aware of heart failure, they often do not understand the signs and symptoms of the disease, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) poll released on June 15.

More than 1,600 people completed the survey, including patients with heart failure, caregivers and the general public. Novartis Pharmaceuticals supported the survey.

Of the respondents, 70 percent said they were aware of heart failure. However, 46 percent incorrectly said heart failure was associated with no symptoms and 58 percent mistakenly said heart failure was a natural cause of death. In fact, the AHA noted in a news release that there are numerous symptoms that could lead to heart failure such as difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight gain of three or more pounds in a day and swelling of the feet, ankles and legs.

Each year, there are more than 870,000 new cases of heart failure in the U.S. The AHA mentioned hospitalizations and other costs associated with heart failure were more than $30 billion per year.

In the survey, 71 percent of caregivers and 56 percent of patients responded that heart failure impacted their relationships. Further, 75 percent and 63 percent of patients, respectively, reported they had anxiety due to heart failure and 69 percent and 56 percent, respectively, had depression due to dealing with heart failure.