This week is National Heart Failure Awareness Week – a good opportunity to remind your employees of who is at risk and what the symptoms of heart failure are. This week – or really any week – you might want to incorporate some of the available resources in your wellness program communications. Chances are, this is important information for your work force since heart failure is estimated to affect nearly five million people of all ages and is responsible for more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined. It is often undiagnosed because many who are affected mistake the symptoms for tiredness or normal aging.
There are some groups who are more at risk than others: people over the age of 65; African Americans; people suffering form diabetes; people who are overweight; people with high blood pressure; people with a family history of heart problems.
People often expect signs of heart failure to be sudden and dramatic, but symptoms are often gradual and occur over a long period of time. They are often unrecognized because people are unaware of what to look for. Some symptoms of heart failure include:
# Shortness of breath, which can happen even during mild activity
# Difficulty breathing when lying down
# Weight gain with swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid retention
# General fatigue and weakness
# Frequent cough with frothy sputum
# Increased urination at night
Additional resources
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure – American Heart Association
Heart Failure – The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Heart Failure Symptoms – The Mayo Clinic
Heart Failure Symptoms –
Take the Heart Failure Assessment –
Heart failure classifications –


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