The American Heart Association and Novartis Shine a Light on America’s Heart Failure Heroes
Oct 19, 2016
Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer Queen Latifah and her mother Rita Owens, who has heart failure (HF), are stepping up efforts together with the American Heart Association and Rise Above Heart Failure national sponsor Novartis to encourage patients and caregivers to have a meaningful dialogue with healthcare professionals about HF, understand its signs and symptoms, and take small steps to better manage the condition. As Queen Latifah visits the world-renowned Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where her mother was treated for HF, she’s encouraging everyone to make some noise about this epidemic that is often overlooked. She hopes her personal experiences will help inspire others, and is also sharing her own top 10 caregiving tips for others in her shoes, available on RiseAboveHF.org.
Nearly six million Americans currently live with HF, a debilitating and life-threatening condition that one in five people over the age of 40 will develop at some point in their lives.1,2 Almost 1 million (915,000) new cases are reported annually, and tragically, of those diagnosed with HF, about 50 percent will die within five years.1,3,4 The reality is that while there are important symptoms of HF like wheezing, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles, sudden weight gain, being out of breath, and having trouble sleeping (see accompanying list of symptoms here)5 – oftentimes, people don’t notice them, and if they do, they mistake them as signs of other conditions or simply old age. Sometimes patients hear from their doctor that “your heart is weak” or “your heart doesn’t work as well as it used to.” That’s when patients need to ask, “Do I have HF?” An open and honest dialogue with a healthcare provider about how their feeling may help ensure patients are doing all they can to better manage their condition.
It’s for this reason that Queen Latifah is once again rallying the community to take the “Red Steps Challenge” in honor of the HF heroes – doctors, nurses, caregivers, friends and family – who all have an impact on the life of a person with HF. Everyone can show support for the HF hero in their community by visiting RiseAboveHF.org, putting on their favorite pair of red socks, sharing a photo and “donating” the steps they are taking to “rise above” heart failure.
Everyone can show support for the HF hero in their community. Here’s how to get involved in the “Red Steps Challenge:”
Snap it: Step into your favorite pair of red socks and snap a photo of your “red steps”
Post it: Visit RiseAboveHF.org to donate your steps and upload your red-step selfie with thousands of others
Share it: Then, don’t forget to share it with friends and family in social media #RiseAboveHF
Chronic heart failure can’t be cured, but it can be treated. Learn ways to manage the disease by visiting RiseAboveHF.org and show your support for those living with HF.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of HF5
Shortness of breath
Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs
Sudden weight gain
Wheezing or coughing
Faintness or dizziness
Lack of appetite
High heart rate
Don’t think “Old Age” when you experience these symptoms. Think “HF”. Talk with your healthcare professional about how you’re honestly feeling.
“My HF Guide” can help patients learn more about HF. It’s available at RiseAboveHF.org
Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2016 Update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015; 132:000-000. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000350.
Fauci A, Longo D. Disorders of the Heart. Harrison’s ‘Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. 2008;4:1442-55.
Roger VL, Weston SA, Redfield MM, et al. Trends in heart failure incidence and survival community-based population. JAMA. 2004;292:344-350.
Levy D, Kenchaiah S, Larson MG, et al. Long term trends in the incidence and survival with heart failure.N Engl J Med. 2002;347(18):1397-1422.