Heart failure is the only cardiac condition that is increasing in prevalence.

In the UK, an estimated 920,000 people are currently affected, with about 200,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

In Cheshire West & Chester, it’s estimated that around 4,700 people have been diagnosed with heart failure by their GPs, including here in our Eddisbury constituency.

Exercise physiologists with the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Cardiac Rehabilitation team are raising awareness of how to spot this potentially lethal disease, and what to do when you do.

These caring clinicians witness people with heart failure learn to manage and cope with the condition despite its bad reputation.

People hear ‘heart failure’ and can become frightened rightly so because it is a serious condition – but that doesn’t mean it is an automatic death sentence.

It’s a condition that can be managed with the proper care – and, like most conditions, the earlier it’s detected, the better.

The NHS is working with North West-based charity the Pumping Marvellous Foundation to raise awareness of their BEAT ‘pre-diagnosis’ methodology.

‘Pre-diagnosis’ is vital, as it picks up the critical symptoms of heart failure and prompts you to report to your GP or nurse so that they can consider testing for heart failure properly.

BEAT stands for:

– B: breathlessness;

– E: exhaustion;

– A: ankle swelling;

– T: time for a simple blood test; or

– T: time to tell your GP or nurse.

Now, I’ve run 19 marathons over the last 25 years to keep fit and raise money for local charities. However, this pales into insignificance compared to a physical feat attempted this week by Craig Gilchrist – one of the North Midlands NHS rehab clinicians.

Northwich Guardian:

Craig is running a marathon through Chester as part of an attempt to run ‘Seven marathons in seven days’ to raise both awareness of heart failure, and £7,777 in donations for Pumping Marvellous.

This will be the third route he’s clocked up, and he will pass through the Eddisbury constituency when he does so!

If you’d like to support this life-saving BEAT message, you can sponsor Craig online by visiting bit.ly/7marathonsin7days and help fewer Cheshire residents die an avoidable death from heart failure!