What is Heart Failure?

Heart Failure

What Is Heart Failure?

Heart Failure – or Heart Impairment – means your heart can’t pump blood around the body properly. It’s usually because your heart’s become too weak or stiff. It doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working – but it needs treatment to help it pump better.

Heart Failure

What are the main symptoms of Heart Failure?

  • breathless during an activity…or at rest

  • feeling tired or weak…and struggling with daily activities (e.g., cooking & cleaning)

  • swelling of your feet and ankles…sometimes spreading to your legs

  • feeling faint or lightheaded

What causes Heart Failure?

Heart failure is often caused by a number of problems, impacting the Heart at the same time.  It can happen suddenly or develop slowly, over months or years. The most common causes are:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (reduced blood supply to the Heart Muscle)

  • High Blood Pressure (puts extra strain on the Heart)

  • Cardiomyopathy (genetic Heart Muscle problem, passed from parent to offspring)

  • Heart Rhythm Problems

  • Heart Valve Disease

  • Diabetes

How is Heart Failure diagnosed?

It starts with your consultation. I ask you lots of question about your symptoms and conduct a detailed physical examination. In addition, you’ll have investigations like:

  • Blood Tests

  • ECG

  • Echocardiogram

  • Chest X-ray

  • Advanced Diagnostic Testing if necessary

What are the treatments for Heart Failure?

Treatment may improve your Heart Function, control your symptoms, and slow down the progression of the condition. Sometimes, when there’s a treatable cause, like an infection or a damaged heart valve, a full recovery may be achieved.

Your treatment depends on the underlying cause of your Heart Failure. Common treatments include:

  • lifestyle changes (e.g., healthy diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking)

  • medication (stabilises and improves your Heart Function, improves your symptoms)

  • special pacemakers (controls heart rhythm and pumping)

  • heart surgery (to repair/replace a damaged valve or improve blood flow to your heart)

How do I live with Heart Failure?

It’s very important to take good care of yourself when you have Heart Failure.
You can help keep your Heart and Symptoms stable by following these 5 steps: