A woman with the heart muscle disease cardiomyopathy has been speaking up for patients at a Parliamentary reception on heart failure.
Lynn Hedgecoe, from Crimes Lane, Beeston, was among a group of patients who told MPs and Department of Health officials about the difficulties facing people with heart disease.
The meeting, hosted by heart failure charities the Pumping Marvellous Foundation and the Cardiomyopathy Association, was held at the Palace of Westminster last week.
Lynn said: “If patients get more support in self-managing their condition we can reduce costs throughout the care chain and at the same time improve care for patients.
“With hospital admissions for heart failure projected to increase by 50 per cent over the next 25 years we are urging that an all-party parliamentary group is set up to tackle the issue.”
Lynn was diagnosed aged 56 in 2008 with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition, which can affect all ages, that causes the heart to enlarge and pump less efficiently.
Her consultant told her: “Chronic heart failure, no more flying, no more stressful working… and by the way it may lead to a heart transplant.”
From leading a busy life as a senior team member at Chester-based Marks & Spencer Money, she suddenly found the simple act of blackberry picking or walking even a few yards defeated her.
But she was determined to get on with life as best she could. She had a special pacemaker fitted that helps her heart beat in a more co-ordinated way and drug treatments are keeping her stable.
She added: “Thanks to getting cardiac rehabilitation that is not available to everyone, and wonderful support from my doctors, my family, my friends and the Cardiomyopathy Association my fitness and confidence has grown enormously.
“I thank God for modern science that has kept me going and improved my quality of life to a state where once again I am excited about the future. But not everyone with my condition gets these opportunities.”
Lynn, who is married with two children, is now a volunteer for the Cardiomyopathy Association providing support to other affected people by telephone and email. She also gives encouragement to others undergoing cardiac rehabilitation at The Countess of Chester Hospital.
FOR more information about cardiomyopathy, visit the Cardiomyopathy Association’s website at www.cardiomyopathy.org or call 0800 0181 024.