Nearly five-million of us are living with heart failure. Unlike other heart ailments like heart attacks, doctors say heart failure is getting worse. This is an ailment where the heart weakens and has difficulty handling its pumping chores.
Today the first of about 200 local health care professionals got experience in what it is like to have a heart failure. They felt many of the same pains and trauma which happen when a person actually has this happen.
The medical professionals get into into a heart failure simulation at Swedish American Hospital. The simulation lasts about five-and-a-half minutes. It works this way: straps are wrapped around their chest, giving off symptoms of heart failure.
The doctors and nurses feel weak, experience shallow breathing and extreme exhaustion. The goal here is to help those who help us see what their patients go through.
"Empathy is a very good characteristic the more we can understand subjectively what our patient is going through the more we can empathize and offer the best care we can," says Dr. Paul Vaitkus of SwedishAmerican Hospital.
While serious, heart failure can be lived with for years. Doctors at SwedishAmerican say with the proper medications, diet, and exercise, heart failure isn't quite the death sentence it was 20-years ago.
Astra Zeneca, a pharmaceutical company, sponsors the heart failure simulation unit. It's been on the road since January. After its second day of training in Rockford, the unit heads to Indianapolis.