Heart failure develops silently but the death rate is higher than many types of cancer

Heart failure is a growing silent health problem in Asia-Pacific that needs to be more widely recognized. The death rate within 5 years after being diagnosed with heart failure is 50%, much higher than for many types of cancer.
The above information was given at the Asia-Pacific Cardiovascular Society (APSC) 2023 Conference that recently took place in Singapore. The Asia-Pacific Society of Cardiology is the leading platform in the Asia-Pacific region for the exchange of ideas, continuing education and presentation of new research in the fields of general cardiology, Echocardiography and imaging, electrocardiography, cardiovascular surgery and pediatric cardiology.

Talking to Health & Life on the sidelines of the conference, Associate Professor Dr. Pham Nguyen Vinh – Vice President of the Vietnam Heart Association said that heart failure is a syndrome that results from many causes, leading to the heart being unable to push. blood can flow or the heart cannot contain blood (filling disorder). Heart failure is a leading cause of death in humanity, not just in Vietnam.

“Heart failure caused my health to decrease significantly”

That is the sharing of Mr. LVH (63 years old, residing in Ben Tre) – a patient who has had 5 years of heart failure treatment. Once a healthy person who regularly exercised, Mr. H. never thought he would develop heart failure. Until 2018, after an angina attack, his doctor diagnosed him with arrhythmia and heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy of all four heart chambers.

Blood pressure is often low, sometimes there is chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. Since discovering heart failure in 2018, until now – 5 years, the patient has been hospitalized 3 times due to acute heart failure, each lasting 10 days.

“I saw a clear decline in my health. Now, every month I have to travel to Ho Chi Minh City for follow-up examinations to monitor my heart health and the effectiveness of treatment medications. After understanding heart failure, I accepted It turns out I may have had this syndrome before 2018 when I still felt it sometimes but because I was subjective I didn’t pay attention to it” – patient H. said.

According to patient H., heart failure greatly affects his daily life. The most clearly noticeable is sports activities. Previously, Mr. H. often played tennis, cycled long distances, and climbed hills, but since suffering from heart failure, he found his health deteriorating every year. For all heavy tasks, you must ask others for help…

Mr. H. added: Because he is a military man, he regularly does physical exercise at heavy intensity and regularly has general health checks (including coronary artery and blood pressure checks), when the results are not abnormal. What’s normal, plus he has knowledge about many diseases but has never thought about heart failure, so he was very subjective. When he heard he had heart failure, he thought taking medicine would be fine.

Due to subjective reasons, Mr. H. still regularly drinks alcohol and eats salty foods for long periods of time. Therefore, after discovering that you have heart failure, you are in a difficult stage in treatment. “Currently, I have to take a lot of medicine and fix my living and eating habits. I have listened to the doctor’s advice to eat more fish and vegetables, limit meat intake, no offal, no alcohol, no alcohol.” Let too much salt into your body, reduce unnecessary vigorous exercise to not put pressure on your heart, and avoid the risk of stroke” – patient H. said.

Mr. H. added that heart failure requires taking a lot of medication and needs to be maintained continuously for a long time, sometimes taking up to 8-9 different types of medication and can take medication for life. Meanwhile, some drugs are not on the list of covered by insurance, plus regular follow-up examinations and treatment for acute heart failure are also very expensive, creating a financial burden for patients. Therefore, according to him, early detection, diagnosis and treatment are essential.

According to Associate Dr. Pham Nguyen Vinh, there are currently 26 – 64 million people with heart failure worldwide. Normally, patients with moderate to severe heart failure will die 50% within 5 years.

In recent years, if we calculate according to European frequencies, Vietnam currently has millions of people with heart failure in need of treatment. Such treatment is very expensive because early stage heart failure will be treated with medication. In the later stages, there are heart failure patients who require surgical treatment, and those with coronary heart failure who require coronary angioplasty or, in the worst case, heart transplant.

According to information at the Asia-Pacific Society of Cardiology Conference (APSC) 2023, between 1990 and 2019, the death rate due to cardiovascular disease in the Asia-Pacific region increased from 23%. to 35%, and Asia bears the disproportionate burden of cardiovascular deaths, with more than half of global cardiovascular deaths occurring in the Asia-Pacific region at 58%.

Although there is a wealth of information available on the epidemiology and management of heart failure in Western countries, there are limited reliable data on the incidence and number of heart failure patients in the Asia-Pacific region. Duong is still lacking. Poorly treated heart failure has a major impact on the health care system – an estimated $48 billion in costs from heart failure hospitalizations alone. ” In the Asia-Pacific region, we face unique challenges in diagnosing and treating heart failure ” – experts participating in the Asia-Pacific Society of Cardiology Conference (APSC) ) 2023 shared the same view.

Associate Professor David Sim – Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Director of Heart Failure Management Program, National Heart Institute of Singapore, said that about 32 million people in the Asia-Pacific region are at risk of cardiovascular disease. 6 million people are hospitalized. Heart failure has a mortality rate comparable to lung cancer if detected at a late stage.

The average hospital stay for heart failure patients in the region is 5 to 12 days, and up to 15% of patients are readmitted within 30 days. Heart failure is creating a huge economic burden for the region. In particular, the lack of awareness about the disease and the lack of early detection marker tests make treatment difficult

Associate Professor David Sim also cited the results of a survey by the Asia-Pacific Heart Association, the current diagnosis of heart failure is often based on clinical signs and symptoms. In up to 50% of cases, patients may be misdiagnosed, leading to negative impacts, such as incorrect care or treatment, burdening the patient and increasing costs for the health care system.

Regarding the cause, according to Associate Professor Sim, it may be due to limited access to imaging techniques and cardiovascular biomarker testing.

Currently, the heart failure programs of the American Heart Association, the European Heart Association and the Vietnam Heart Association also provide recommendations for diagnosing, treating and preventing heart failure.

“In Vietnam, the diagnosis of heart failure syndrome has been standardized. Currently, I believe that all Vietnamese doctors, in the provinces, of course I am not saying it is completely gone, but they can diagnose it early and treat it.” The treatment is relatively correct thanks to the Vietnam Heart Association and continuous training programs from the University” – Associate Professor, Dr. Pham Nguyen Vinh said.

In addition, Associate Professor Dr. Vinh also said that thanks to advances in paraclinical, doctors have diagnostic tools, such as echocardiography, electrocardiogram, chest x-ray and biological markers to help diagnose the disease. definitive diagnosis and differential diagnosis of heart failure. Heart failure is common in the elderly, but infants can also have heart failure due to congenital heart disease. Besides, some people are at high risk of heart failure such as high blood pressure, smoking, lack of exercise…

“Therefore, to prevent disease, it is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, and periodically monitor your health for early diagnosis and treatment” – Associate Professor, Dr. Vinh recommended.


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