The Cyprus society of cardiology has launched a week long awareness campaign to mark the European Heart Failure Awareness Day.
According to the head of the cardiology society Dr Loizos Antoniadis, between 16,000 and 20,000 people in Cyprus suffer from heart failure, which is responsible worldwide for more deaths than some cancer types. If detected early however, patients can have a good quality of life.
Heart failure, Antoniadis said, “is a serious condition where the heart does not pump blood around the body as well as it should, which causes fluid to accumulate in lungs and other parts of the body”.
It is a global health problem, he said, as around 25 million people are estimated to suffer from heart failure around the world, 15 million in Europe alone.
Worldwide, it causes more deaths than advanced types of colon and breast cancer, he said.
“In developed countries, it estimated that one in five people will develop heart failure at some stage of their life,” Antoniadis said.
In Cyprus, he said, the overall prevalence of heart failure increases due to aging.
In younger age groups, it is more common in men, because the most common cause, coronary heart disease, affects males at an earlier age, he said. As regards the elderly, it affects similarly both sexes.
“Despite the fact there is no complete cure for the disease, heart failure can be prevented to a great extent with proper treatment,” Antoniadis said.
Prevention can help increase the life expectancy of patients, alleviate complications, improve the quality of life of patients, and reduce hospital admissions.
“Heart failure is estimated to cost the global economy, US$108 billion dollars annually,” he said.
Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling ankles, weight increase – more than 2kilos in three days, loss of appetite, dizziness, rapid heart rate and fatigue.
Public awareness as regards heart failure, Antoniadis said, is not satisfactory.
He said that for this reason, the cardiology society in cooperation with other organisations is launching an awareness campaign, which is under the auspices of Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis.
On Saturday and Sunday, info kiosks will be set up in Phaneromeni Square in Nicosia, where experts will inform members of the public, between 10am and noon.
On Monday, June 6, an event will take place at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, under the auspices of First Lady Andri Anastasiades. During the event, which will take place between 7pm and 8pm, there will be a lecture of the cardiology society, followed by a reception.
The awareness campaign is taking place with the support of Novartis Pharma Services Cyprus.