WHAT IS HEART FAILURE?

Heart Failure is a serious condition; however, it does not mean the heart has “failed” or stopped working. It means the heart does not pump blood as well as it should. When you have heart failure, your heart keeps working, but it is weak and unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to support all the organs in the body.

SYMPTOMS OF HEART FAILURE

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, and rapid heartbeat.

People may experience:

  • Pain areas: in the chest
  • Cough: can be dry or with phlegm
  • Whole body: dizziness, fatigue, inability to exercise, or loss of appetite
  • Respiratory: fast breathing, shortness of breath at night, shortness of breath on exercise, or shortness of breath on lying down
  • Gastrointestinal: water retention or bloating
  • Also common: excess urination at night, sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, swollen feet, swollen legs, or weight gain
HEART FAILURE IN THE UNITED STATES:
  • About 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure
  • Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalizations, resulting in over 1 million per year
  • Men and women over the age of 40 have a more than 20% chance of developing heart failure
  • One in 9 deaths in 2009 included heart failure as a contributing cause
  • Roughly half of those who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis
  • Heart failure costs the nation an estimated $32 billion each year, including the costs of health care services, medications, and missed work days
RISK FACTORS FOR HEART FAILURE

Diseases that damage your heart also increase your risk for heart failure. Some of these diseases include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attacks
  • atrial fibrillation and other rhythm abnormalities
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Sleep disordered breathing

Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for heart failure, especially for people who have one of the diseases listed above. Unhealthy behaviors include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Toxins such as alcohol, cocaine, and chemotherapy
  • Psychological stress