Shock tactic to raise heart failure awareness

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A SHOCK campaign aimed at raising awareness of severe heart failure has been launched after it was revealed hundreds of Hartlepool residents are affected by the condition.

New figures from the British Heart Foundation reveal a total of 746 people in the Hartlepool PCT area are currently living with heart failure, a condition most commonly caused by a heart attack.

But new research shows that almost 90 per cent of people in the North-East are unaware of the effect that heart failure can have on people’s lives.

Now a campaign has been launched which aims to raise awareness and help fund pioneering research to find a cure.

Mayor Stuart Drummond has given his backing to the campaign, which is part of BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.

The research also revealed 51 per cent of people believed that heart failure meant that your heart stopped working, when in fact people living with severe heart failure often face a prolonged sentence of suffering, where every day can be a struggle.

The campaign aims to challenge common misconceptions about heart failure using the striking visual image of a drowning man to illustrate how severe heart failure can cause people’s lungs to fill with fluid, leaving them struggling to breathe.

Hartlepool became the only BHF Heart Town in the North last year at a time when more than 100 people in town are still dying of heart disease each year.

The deal means more will be done in communities through local fundraising and volunteering as well as raising awareness of heart disease and offering residents a raft of support services.

Mayor Drummond said: “Hartlepool signed up to be a Heart Town last year and as part of that we said we would support the BHF where we could in terms of raising awareness.

“The BHF has been instrumental in raising awareness in the town and we have started to make inroads but it is a long process which has to be sustained.

“I welcome this campaign and support it wholeheartedly.

“Anything that is going to reduce these figures should be welcomed by all.”

According to the heart failure register there are 746 people living with heart failure in Hartlepool and 22,571 in the North East.

Research also showed that almost a third, 32 per cent, of people thought that once the heart had been damaged it was able to repair itself.

While medical advances mean more people are surviving heart attacks, they cause permanent damage to the heart muscle which can leave people with heart failure – for which there is currently no cure.

But the BHF Mending Broken Hearts Appeal is looking for support from Hartlepool to fund regenerative medicine research that could cure heart failure.

To support the vital research visit bhf.org.uk/findthecure