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May 20, 2022

Heart Failure Awareness Week hearts4heart

Heart Failure Awareness Week (19 – 25 June, 2023)

Heart failure is common and on the rise around the world. In Australia, there are more than 500,000 Australians living with heart failure, and as more people survive heart attacks, live longer, and experience heart issues that lead to heart failure, more people will develop the condition.

Every day, heart failure claims the lives of eight Australians and it’s the number one cause of hospitalisation in people over age 65. Australians spend more than one million days in hospital each year due to heart failure, at an estimated annual cost to the Australian health system of $3.1 billion.

Unfortunately, dangerously low levels of awareness about heart failure are leaving Australians vulnerable to this long-term condition.

Heart Failure Awareness Week aims to:
1. raise awareness about heart failure prevalence,
2. educate people about heart failure symptoms, particularly among Australians 65 and older, caregivers and health professionals, and
3. provide information to assist in decision-making about patient care.

The campaign creates an opportunity to encourage critical conversations about the importance of reform in how heart failure diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management are addressed in Australia.

During Heart Failure Awareness Week, we’re launching Australia’s first Heart Failure Patient & Caregiver Charter with the support of Parliamentary Friends of Heart and Stroke, clinicians, patients and carers. Together, we’re urging the government to take action and put heart failure diagnosis and treatment on the national agenda. The Heart Failure Patient & Caregiver Charter has been developed to support shared decision-making between patients and clinicians, reduce preventable hospitalisations, and improve the overall quality of life of heart failure patients and carers.

Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped, but it is ‘failing’ to keep up with your body’s demands.  The heart is unable to pump enough blood through the body to meet its nutritional needs, either because the heart is unable to fill with enough blood, or its pumping action isn’t strong enough, or both. But with early diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes, a person with heart failure can reduce their risk of hospitalisation, feel better, and live a longer and healthier life.

Common heart failure symptoms can often be dismissed as other health issues or even old age. Recognising heart failure symptoms is key to early diagnosis and the best health outcomes.

Symptoms can include any of the following:

o Shortness of breath during minimal exercise or exertion
o Needing to use extra pillows when lying down to breathe easier
o Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
o Swelling of legs, feet, or stomach
o Coughing / wheezing
o Weight gain over a short period of time (e.g., >2kg over 2 days)
o Extreme tiredness, low energy, or no energy
o Loss of appetite

If you’re over 65, or experiencing any of the above, be heart smart.
Speak to your GP and get your heart checked.

You’ve only got one heart – don’t fail it.

Click here to download our heart failure symptom tracker
Click here to download our heart failure Patient Charter
Click here to download our new GP resource: Recognising Heart Failure


We always appreciate people helping us spread the word. If you would like to get involved in Heart Failure Awareness Week, please email [email protected] for more information and shareable social media assets.

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