February is an important month when it comes to your heart. And we’re not talking Valentine’s Day…
February is recognized nationally as American Heart Month. Additionally, the week of Feb. 12-18, 2017 is Heart Failure Awareness Week. This is a time, more than ever, to raise awareness about heart failure and to become educated on the services available for the large number of individuals suffering from advanced heart disease in the US.
As of today, heart disease is impacting over 92 million Americans. If you’re reading this right now, it is very likely that you or someone you know is fighting a physical and/or emotional battle against some form of heart disease.
It is well known that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Despite the fact that we are becoming increasingly more educated on living a “heart healthy” lifestyle, heart disease is still on the rise. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is reaching epidemic proportions – accounting for every 1 of 7 deaths in the US.
Heart disease is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of conditions involving the heart; one condition in particular is congestive heart failure (CHF).
What is Heart Failure?
The term “heart failure” sounds as though the heart is no longer working. In actuality, it means that the heart is not pumping as well as it should be. Your heart is the center of the body’s circulatory system. It acts as a pump that distributes blood, oxygen, nutrients and hormones throughout your body to defend against disease. When a heart’s pumping power weakens due to heart failure, its ability to supply the body of these nourishments weakens as well.
Heart failure alone is affecting over 5 million Americans. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people over 65 years of age. And, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, heart failure is the second most common hospice diagnosis.
How Unity Hospice Can Help Individuals with CHF
Unity Hospice can help to relieve patients from pain due to heart failure by managing common symptoms such as chest pain, hypertension and fluid retention. Managing these symptoms under the professional care of Unity Hospice can limit readmission to the hospital as well as reduce pain and increase comfort for patients. In fact, research has shown that cardiac patients on hospice live an average of 29 days longer than non-hospice patients due to increased quality of life provided by the hospice care team.
Even though heart failure is one of the more common hospice diagnoses, hospice continues to be an underutilized option for advanced heart failure patients. Hundreds of thousands of people die annually from heart failure, yet patients infrequently decide to receive hospice services to manage their pain and symptoms. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, there is typically a dramatic decline followed by a period of recovery, over and over again. As a result of this, the majority of cardiac patients who could benefit from hospice and/or palliative care never receive this essential emotional and physical support.
Please contact us if you are unsure if you or a loved one is right for hospice. We can help answer any questions you may have and provide a no-obligation evaluation. To find a Unity Hospice office in your area, visit the following link: Unity Hospice Locations.