According to Boston Scientific Corp. (a manufacturer and developer of medical devices), a majority of Americans underestimate the severity and prevalence of heart disease.

Boston Scientific’s survey showed that heart disease is the leading reason for Americans 65+ to be admitted to hospital. However, the overwhelming majority of Americans disagree with this conclusion. More than half of those polled believe that common colds, flu, falls, illnesses, and afflictions like Alzheimer’s disease are the most common reasons for hospitalizations.

More than 1,000 Americans were surveyed and found that there are many misconceptions about heart disease. Three quarters of Americans mistakenly believe that heart attack occurs when blood flow becomes blocked or the heart stops beating.

Heart failure refers to a condition where the heart becomes weaker and slowly loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. Experts estimate that heart failure is the fastest growing cardiovascular disorder.

“Heart failure will affect an increasing number of Americans in the foreseeable future,”John Russell, vice-president and general manager for patient management at Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm Management Group. “The public needs to know how to successfully manage it if they or a loved one are diagnosed with heart failure.”

Patients with heart failure are receiving an increasing number of implanted defibrillator devices to treat their condition. Patients can monitor their symptoms via wireless technology as often as once per day. Boston Scientific’s Latitude Patient Management device, for example was approved by FDA for wireless home monitoring.

Optional components for the Latitude system include a weight scale, and a blood pressure monitor. These also make use of wireless communications. Monitoring heart failure is as simple as keeping track of your blood pressure and your weight. Any increase in these measurements could indicate a worsening condition.

The Latitude system tracks a patient’s weight, blood pressure, and detects changes. This allows physicians to intervene earlier in a patient’s treatment.

Latitude systems can provide patients with daily assurance and peace-of-mind knowing that their heart failure symptoms can easily be monitored from the comfort of their own homes.

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