Heart failure and methods to avoid it

dr. Theresia Sandra Diah Ratih, MHA
dr. Theresia Sandra Diah Ratih, MHA. (IO/Esti)

Jakarta, IO – Heart Failure Care Day is commemorated in May each year. “Heart failure” is a condition when the heart can no longer pump sufficient blood to run the body because of the weakening of the heart’s muscles. It is frequently diagnosed late because its symptoms match that of many other illnesses: getting easily exhausted; prolonged coughing and/ or difficulty of breathing; swelling (edema), especially in the legs; loss of appetite; and bloating or sense of fullness. 

The prevalence of heart failure in Indonesia is 5% of the population, with male suffering making 66% of sufferers and women 34%. It can happen to anyone, and risk of contracting it is higher as you age. Compared to Europeans and Americans, heart failure patients in Southeast Asia tend to be younger. In Indonesia, 56% of men and 60% of women of productive age (< 50 years old) suffer from heart failure. 

“Heart failure is a serious condition, as more than 50% of patients will not survive for more than five years after their first attack. The biggest triggers are hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, followed by age, smoking, and genetic abnormality,” explained dr. Siti Elkana Nauli, Sp. JP(K), FIHA, cardiology specialist from the Tangerang Regional General Hospital in the “Making Peace with Heart Failure: Control Cardiovascular Risks, Handle Heart Failure Properly” webinar held by the Indonesian Heart and Blood Vessel Specialists’ Association (Perhimpunan Spesialis Jantung dan Pembuluh Darah Indonesia – “PERKI”) Heart Failure Task Force, in cooperation with Novartis Indonesia, this Tuesday (31/05/2022). 

PERKI’s 2018 survey shows that 17.2% of Indonesian heart failure patients died during hospital treatment, 11.3% died within a year of treatment, and 17% must endure repeat hospitalization. “The New York Heart Association has four heart failure classifications according to severity level. First, no restriction on physical performance. Second, restricted physical performance, indicated by difficulty of breathing during strenuous activity. Third, major restriction of physical performance, marked by difficulty of breathing even during light activity. Fourth, severely restricted physical performance marked by difficulty of breathing even when resting, necessitating hospitalization,” dr. Nauli said.