Living well with heart failure – Free public event

By June Shannon Heart News   |   29th Apr 2019

Free public information evening on heart failure to take place in Athlone this week.

The management of some of the more common symptoms of heart failure will be discussed at a special patient information evening in Athlone this week.

The public information evening which takes place on Wednesday, 01 May in the Athlone Springs Hotel, will feature a number of clinical heart specialists including, Catherine Nolan, Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist in Heart Failure in the community and at Portiuncula University Hospital, who will address the event on “Living with Heart Failure.”

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Ms Nolan said that while heart failure was a chronic condition, it was possible to live well with the right information and treatment.

According to Ms Nolan, one of the main challenges faced by patients living with heart failure was symptom management.

The signs and symptoms of heart failure include, shortness of breath, swollen ankles and fatigue. This is because in heart failure, the heart does not pump oxygenated blood around the body as well as it should, leading to fluid build-up in the lungs and the legs.

Ms Nolan said that for patients, one of the challenges was around having the confidence to know what to do when these symptoms recur.

“If they have been stable for a while and all of a sudden, they become short of breath again, do they know who to contact or what to do?”, she said.

The public information evening which takes place on Wednesday, 01 May in the Athlone Springs Hotel, will feature a number of clinical heart specialists

.

At the patient information evening in Athlone Ms Nolan will outline what patients can do to manage their symptoms.

For example, with fatigue, which she said was a very prevalent symptom of heart failure, she advised that patients build time to rest into their day.

She also underlined the importance of daily exercise as, apart from the health benefits of regular exercise, daily physical activity also acted as a barometer for symptoms such as shortness of breath.

“When you are exercising you are also monitoring how well your symptoms are today as opposed to yesterday and last week, so it is exercise and rest periods in between,” she advised.

Ms Nolan has been working as a clinical nurse specialist in heart failure in Portiuncula for 10 years and over that time she has seen an increasing number of patients presenting with heart failure. Last year she cared for approximately 260 patients between the hospital and the community.

She said that a combination of our increasing ageing population and improved treatments for heart conditions meant that people were now living longer with cardiac disease.

Ms Nolan said that the key take-home message from her talk next week will be that recognising the signs and symptoms of heart failure and early diagnosis and treatment including multidisciplinary care from a consultant cardiologist, cardiac nurse specialist and other healthcare professionals such as dietitians, physiotherapists and specialists in cardiac rehabilitation, was key to living well with heart failure.

" Recognising the signs and symptoms of heart failure and early diagnosis and treatment including multidisciplinary care is key to living well with heart failure,"

Catherine Nolan, Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist in Heart Failure, Portiuncula University Hospital

Ms Nolan is one of a number of experts due to address the Irish Heart Foundation public information meeting on Wednesday (01 May 2019). Others include Dr Aidan Flynn, Consultant Cardiologist at Portiuncula University Hospital, Saoirse Flanagan, physiotherapist, who will speak on the benefits of exercise, pharmacist Helen Heery, who will discuss medications and Martina Greene, Support Group Coordinator with the Irish Heart Foundation, who will speak on the benefits of patient support and information groups. Senator Maura Hopkins is also due to address the meeting.

For more information on this free public information evening please see here.

The Athlone event is one of a number of free pubic information meetings being held across the country as part of the Irish Heart Foundation’s campaign entitled ‘Don’t Ignore the Signs of Heart Failure’, Supported by Novartis, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the warning signs of heart failure.

Anyone who would like to learn more about heart failure or who is concerned they may be experiencing symptoms can visit KnowYourHeart.ie which features an online heart failure symptom checker.

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