The Burden of Heart Failure on Canadians

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While heart failure currently affects more than half a million Canadians,1 a significant number of Canadians are unaware of the complications associated with this condition, and the lasting burden it can have on people living with heart failure and their loved ones.2

Heart failure is a common condition that occurs when the heart becomes damaged or weakened, resulting in a lack of blood being distributed to the body.3 This can happen when the pumping action of the heart is not strong enough to move blood around, especially during increased activity or stress.4 We have come a long way in identifying and diagnosing heart failure, but it is still a challenge to prevent.  This is particularly important to anyone managing type 2 diabetes, as they have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart failure.5, 6

“Diabetes and heart failure are on the rise, and the risks associated with both can go hand in hand,” says Dr. Subodh Verma, Cardiac Surgeon at the University of Toronto. “Without proper diagnosis and treatment, heart failure can be detrimental, especially for people living with diabetes, because it can lead to many other serious health complications that have a lasting impact on a person’s quality of life, or even death.”

People living with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart failure compared to someone without diabetes.7 In fact, for many patients, having type 2 diabetes or heart failure alone increases the risk for getting the other.8 Approximately one in two patients with type 2 diabetes die from heart disease.9, 10

Like diabetes, heart failure can also increase the risk of kidney disease. When the heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, it becomes congested causing pressure to build up in the main vein connected to the kidneys and leading to congestion of blood in the kidneys as well.11 The heart and the kidneys work together – when there is an issue with one, it can cause complications in the other.12

Additionally, the financial burden of heart failure is astronomical as it costs the healthcare system almost $3 billion per year.13 This is in part due to high-rates of hospital re-admission for heart failure or for another related cause.14 Patients living with heart failure do not visit the hospital once.15 Current hospital re-admission rates for people with heart failure are one in five within just 30 days of being discharged.16

“For people with heart failure, it’s essential that they and their caregivers understand the condition and what is required to manage it,” says Eileen O’Meara, Associate Professor of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, Université de Montréal. “Many patients who have dealt with heart failure, or are at risk, are managing other health conditions and concerns, so it’s vital to speak with your doctor to ensure you understand how they are impacting each other.”

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and while heart failure and diabetes can stand alone, they are also interconnected. For Canadians living with type 2 diabetes, death from heart disease at an earlier age is a serious risk, so it’s important they speak to their doctor about treatment options to reduce this risk.

To learn more about living with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, visit www.myheartmatters.ca.

This content is sponsored by two of Canada’s leading pharmaceutical research-based companies.

References
1 2016 Report on the Health of Canadians. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth-2016.ashx?la=en
2 2016 Report on the Health of Canadians. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth-2016.ashx?la=en
3 Heart failure. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2020. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart-disease/conditions/heart-failure
4 Heart failure. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2020. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart-disease/conditions/heart-failure
5 Nwaneri C, Cooper H, Bowen-Jones D. Mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus: magnitude of the evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease. 2013;13(4):192–207.
6 Morrish NJ, et al. Mortality and causes of death in the WHO Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes. Diabetologia. 2001;44 Suppl 2:S14–21.
7 Diabetes and heart failure are linked; treatment should be too. American Heart Association. June 6, 2019. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/06/06/diabetes-and-heart-failure-are-linked-treatment-should-be-too
8 Diabetes and heart failure are linked; treatment should be too. American Heart Association. June 6, 2019. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/06/06/diabetes-and-heart-failure-are-linked-treatment-should-be-too
9 Nwaneri C, Cooper H, Bowen-Jones D. Mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus: magnitude of the evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease. 2013;13(4):192–207.
10 Morrish NJ, et al. Mortality and causes of death in the WHO Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes. Diabetologia. 2001;44 Suppl 2:S14–21.
11 The heart-kidney link. British Heart Foundation. https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/kidney-heart-link
12 Heart disease & chronic kidney disease (CKD). American Kidney Fund. 2020. https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/complications/heart-disease/#:~:text=Return%20to%20top-,Heart%20disease%2C%20diabetes%20and%20high%20blood%20pressure,and%20lead%20to%20heart%20disease
13 2016 Report on the Health of Canadians. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth-2016.ashx?la=en
14  2016 Report on the Health of Canadians. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth-2016.ashx?la=en
15 2016 Report on the Health of Canadians. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-heart-month/heartandstroke-reportonhealth-2016.ashx?la=en
16 https://www.onlinecjc.ca/article/S0828-282X(17)30984-4/fulltext