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Heart failure rates rise 15% in Dartford, Swanley and Gravesend

The number of patients living with heart failure in the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group has risen by more than 15%, according to new figures from Public Health England.

There were 1,425 people living with the condition in the Dartford, Gravesham And Swanley CCG in 2016-17, 197 more than in 2009-10, when data was first recorded. It means heart failure affected 570 in every 100,000 patients on doctors' books.

Heart failure is a condition where the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. It is most commonly caused by a heart attack.

Heart attack stock (2427974)
Heart attack stock (2427974)

It is the only major cardiovascular disease - meaning those relating to the heart and blood vessels - which is becoming more common.

The condition costs the NHS over £2 billion a year.

Ashleigh Doggett, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Heart failure is a cruel and debilitating illness affecting more than half a million people across the UK.

"In the last ten years, more people have been diagnosed with the condition, with sufferers in severe cases often having poorer survival rates than many cancers.

"Currently, heart failure is incurable and difficult to treat, which may explain why survival rates for the condition are not improving."

The most common symptoms of heart failure are breathlessness, fatigue and swollen ankles and legs.

In Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, 318 people were admitted to hospital with heart failure in 2016-17, a rate of 137 in every 100,000 people.

Across England and Wales, 458,000 people are estimated to be living with heart failure, and there were 80,000 admissions to hospital for it last year.

Prevalence of heart failure was highest in Fylde and Wyre, Lancashire in 2016-17, with 1,547 in every 100,000 patients affected - nearly five times the rate in London's Wandsworth, where it affected just 320 in 100,000.

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