Heart Failure occurs when the heart does not pump blood properly around the body.
This is usually because the heart muscle is weak.
Sometimes the heart muscle is not weak, but is too stiff – this can also lead to heart failure.
Often the cause is due to Blood Vessel Blockages (Coronary Artery Disease). Other common causes include High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. Sometimes extreme stress can lead to sudden weakening of the heart. This is called “Stress Cardiomyopathy”, and is also known as “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”.
Heart Failure reduces the whole body’s ability to function, and affects quality of life.
Heart Failure is dangerous as it significantly shortens lifespan.
Symptoms of Heart Failure are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Breathlessness on exertion or at rest
- Breathlessness which is worse on lying flat; but is better on sitting up or standing.
- Leg swelling/Abdominal swelling
- Decreased Energy/Decreased Exercise capacity
- Feeling Tired/Weak
Treatment is directed both at the underlying cause and improving symptoms. Medications are the foundation of heart failure treatment. There are many effective medications and treatments available nowadays to prolong life in those with heart failure. In severe heart failure, devices such as Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy (CRT) and Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) may be needed.
**The above information is for general knowledge only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you have any questions or symptoms.