What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2022 06:09 PM

MANILA - Heart doctors and a pharmaceutical leader have urged the public and government to be more aware of heart failure— a condition where the heart does not pump enough blood to the body.

AstraZeneca Philippines Country President Lotis Ramin said heart failure is a serious situation but "unfortunately it is not getting as much attention as it should."

Heart failure patients are “at a very high risk of death and hospitalization, where ‘nearly one-third of patients’ with heart failure have high risk of hospitalization or cardiovascular death, including those who appear stable,” Ramin added, citing studies.

The number of people with heart failure are increasing globally, said Dr. Chito Permejo, fellow and diplomate of the Philippine College of Cardiology. 

“In a span of another 10 years, the data has doubled.. from just 26 million to increasing to 64.34 million as of January 2020," Permejo noted.

Costs for treating heart failure are also not a joke, he said, since “nine over ten patients are hospitalized again for worsening heart failure because of varied reasons.”

“More than 50 percent of presently with heart failure will have at least 3 or 4 to 5 more comorbidities.. the world is ageing. The risk of developing heart failure is more than 20 times, in people especially aged 60 years old,” Permejo explained.

Unless measures will be adopted, “heart failure prevalence will continue in an upward trend," he added.

Philippine Heart Center Heart Failure Section Head Dr. Liberty Yaneza said among the challengers are few heart failure clinics in Visayas and Mindanao.

“We need dedicated health failure nurse for our health failure clinic, we need research assistance and manpower and we will have low referral system for private system,” Yaneza added.

PREVENTION

Permejo urged the government to help promote heart failure prevention, equity of care for all patients, improve patient education and support, and simulate research for new therapies, among other suggestions.

Registry or data base of heart failure patients should be updated to determine areas for improvement, UP's College of Medicine Dr. Michael Joseph Agbayani said.

“We collect information about the health and care received by our patients, specifically heart failure.. to generate studies about heart failure in the local setting. We cannot improve what we cannot measure,” Agbayani noted.

Experts also encouraged the public to seek medical help if they are experiencing symptoms of heart failure such as difficulty in breathing, and chest discomfort.

Doctors have earlier advised the public to follow the 5-2-1-0-0 rule to a healthy heart or the following steps: 

- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- 2 grams of salt everyday
- 1 hour of exercise or 1 minute of exercise per hour
- zero smoking
- zero sugary beverages

Heart disease remains the Philippines’ number one killer, causing heart attack and cardiac arrest, the Philippine Heart Association said. 

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