Shedding Light on Heart Failure: 2-in-3 Australians at Risk


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Heart failure is a critical health issue affecting a significant number of Australians, with devastating consequences for individuals and families alike.

Despite its alarming prevalence and life-threatening nature, there is a concerning lack of awareness among the general population. Recent statistics indicate that up to half a million Australians are affected by heart failure, making it a leading cause of death in the country. 

“Heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has failed, but rather that it’s failing to keep up with your body’s demands,” said Associate Professor John Amerena, Director of the Geelong Cardiology Research Unit.

“When left untreated, heart failure progressively worsens, but with early diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes, a person with heart failure can reduce their risk of hospitalisation and improve their quality of life.”

Unawareness Among Australians

Shockingly, two out of three Australians (66%) who are at risk of developing heart failure are living unaware of the potential threat to their health.

This lack of knowledge and recognition of the signs and risk factors can delay diagnosis and appropriate intervention. Even more concerning is the fact that eight in ten Australians aged 65 or over are unaware that age itself is a significant risk factor for heart failure. This knowledge gap highlights the pressing need for education and public awareness campaigns targeting individuals of all ages.

The Harsh Reality

Heart failure claims the lives of eight Australians every day, a staggering statistic that demands immediate attention. Not only does heart failure lead to premature deaths, but it also ranks as the primary cause of hospitalisation for individuals aged 65 and above. This burden places immense strain on healthcare resources and underscores the need for comprehensive strategies to prevent, detect, and manage heart failure.

Putting Heart Failure on the National Agenda

Recognising the gravity of the situation, hearts4heart is launching an Australian-first guide in Parliament House this week, in collaboration with patients, clinicians, and the Parliamentary Friends of Heart and Stroke Foundations. This initiative aims to bring heart failure to the forefront of national discussions and policy agendas. By increasing awareness, promoting early detection, and advocating for improved healthcare services, this campaign seeks to address the gaps in knowledge and support for those affected by heart failure.

“Unfortunately, dangerously low levels of awareness are leaving Australians vulnerable to this long-term condition,” said hearts4heart CEO Tanya Hall, who lost her father to heart failure when he was just 59.

“Heart disease is all around us, but we don’t think it will actually happen to us. If you are always feeling tired, your body is trying to tell you something. Speak to your GP about your symptoms,” said Katrina Tenne, who initially underestimated her risk despite her family’s history of cardiomyopathy.

The alarming prevalence of heart failure in Australia demands immediate action. With countless lives lost and individuals unaware of their risk, it is imperative to raise public awareness and ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to prevention, detection, and management. By prioritising heart failure on the national agenda, we can work towards reducing its impact and improving the quality of life for all Australians. Let us unite in our efforts to combat this silent but deadly condition and strive for a healthier future.


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