Canadian heart disease survivors are giving back with a support network of their own

Feb 20 2018, 3:57 am

Anyone from any walk of life can be affected by heart failure at any time. It doesn’t matter what your age, gender, or background is. That makes it even scarier; just because you’re young, doesn’t mean that you’re safe.

More than one million Canadians are living with heart disease right now. According to Health Canada stats in 2017, roughly 2.4 million of these people are aged 20 or older. One of your parents, an aunt, your neighbour, or your boss, could be suffering from the disease which sadly is the second leading cause of death.

What about the support? Well, a heart failure charity for patients hasn’t existed in Canada… until now. Introducing HeartLife Foundation: It’s Canada’s first and only federal non-profit, supportive network and the leading voice for heart failure patients in the country.

The foundation is led by surviving patients of heart failure and supports those living with the disease by providing a safe, inclusive environment to share stories, ask questions, and develop relationships.

HeartLife knows what works and what doesn’t. The leaders of the foundation are empathetic, passionate, and understanding, as they help patients navigate this extremely difficult time in their lives. They use their experience to influence better care for all individuals living with heart failure through education, support networks (online and in person), and management tools.

Ultimately, they’re aiming to create a better quality of life for those living with the disease. Compassionate survivors at HeartLife know that no two people are the same when it comes to heart disease and so they want to be able to help patients and also their caregivers, friends, and family. This includes running a Facebook support group where patients and caregivers can have open and honest conversations, helping patients get access to specialized care, and providing resources to help effectively manage heart disease.

For many years, Canadians have had limited access to medications and heart failure awareness. Now, HeartLife is working with the BC Pharmacare Coalition to help them gain access, and advocating for patients across Canada to improve the way the system looks at and works with heart failure. Heart disease represents a considerable economic strain on the Canadian healthcare system and the annual cost of managing moderate and severe heart failure patients in Canada is as much as $2.3 billion, according to the University of Toronto.

Healthcare coverage for 2017 in BC alone made up for just 43% of the budget at $6,214. According to a BC Pharmacare report for 2017, BC public expenditure on medication is the lowest in Canada and ranks 34% below the national average.

HeartLife is also hoping to help nurses, doctors, cardiologists, and health professionals because there is currently no funnel for doctors to become advocates for heart disease.

For more information visit HeartLife Foundation now. Check out the foundation on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates.

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