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Look out for the symptoms of heart failure

Look out for the symptoms of heart failure

Residents are being encouraged to look out for symptoms of heart failure through free blood pressure checks and advice as part of a national awareness campaign.

Staff from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust will run stands at local shopping centres where the public can find out about heart failure, as well as receiving checks on their blood pressure and any symptoms.

The stands will take place on Friday 3 May, during Heart Failure Awareness Week (29 April – 5 May), at the High Chelmer shopping centre in Chelmsford, and the Eastgate shopping centre in Basildon from 8am-4pm.

Jenny Sayer, from Tilbury, started to have symptoms out of the blue in October 2022, and is encouraging others to learn about the condition.

She said: “I had a sense of panic and breathlessness that I couldn’t explain. My heart was out of control. Luckily my husband was in the house with me, and he told me to go to the doctor. The GP immediately referred me to Basildon Hospital, and I was in a hospital bed 20 minutes after I arrived.

“They ran checks including blood tests, an MRI, and an echocardiogram, and I was then told I had heart failure, which was a shock. They fitted me with a special pacemaker and defibrillator, and I’ve since been able to live a completely normal life.

“Heart failure is only final if you ignore the signs, so don’t delay getting help. If you know someone who has symptoms, tell them to get checked. There is life after heart failure.”

The Trust’s heart failure service sees around 1,400 patients in need of emergency care each year in mid and south Essex, as well 2,400 patients with more routine needs. The service also performs around 150 procedures each year using complex devices, including defibrillator and cardiac resynchronisation therapy.

Dr Henry Oluwasefunmi Savage, Consultant Cardiologist and Heart Failure Lead at the Trust, said: “As part of the awareness week we want to encourage local people to find out about heart failure. This will help us to identify those who have undetected risk of heart conditions and encourage them to go to their GP if needed.

“This is part of an international campaign  ’25in25’ developed by the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH), which seeks to reduce deaths from heart failure by 25% over the next 25 years.”

The symptoms of heart failure, as outlined by the BSH, include the ‘F’s of Fighting for breath, feeling Fatigued and the build-up of Fluid. People with those symptoms are being advised to speak to their GP.

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