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Specialist team raising awareness of heart failure

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A specialist team at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be speaking to the public about heart failure as part of a European-wide awareness week on Wednesday 8 May 2019.

The Heart Failure Team will be manning an information stall at the John Radcliffe Hospital as part of Heart Failure Awareness Week to speak about the causes, symptoms and what can be done to minimise the risk of developing heart failure.

It is estimated that nearly 5,000 people in Oxfordshire have heart failure.

In this condition, the heart struggles to pump blood around the body due to weakness, stiffness or damage to the heart muscle from various causes.

Heart failure is different from a heart attack, but having a heart attack may lead to heart failure.

One of the most common causes of heart failure is high blood pressure, so the team will be offering free blood pressure checks on the day.
They will also give advice on how lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can help to reduce blood pressure.

Helen Jackson, a Consultant Nurse in Heart Failure at the Trust, said: "Educating and promoting self-care strategies is vital in the lives of heart failure patients.

"We're hoping that by helping people to be aware of the symptoms of heart failure, which include feeling out of breath, tired and possible swelling of the abdomen, feet or legs, that they will visit their GP as soon as possible for an examination and to have the tests required to check whether they might have heart failure."

The Trust had 800 heart failure admissions in 2016/17, according to the most recent national heart failure audit.

More than 50 blood pressures were checked throughout last year's event - but this year the team are hoping for more.

Members of the heart failure team will man the stand on Level 2, opposite the League of Friends café, between 10.00am and 3.00pm.

Those who have their blood pressure checked will be given a record of their reading and told whether it was normal, borderline raised, raised, or high, with verbal and written advice about further monitoring as appropriate.