What is heart failure?
Heart failure is characterized by the heart’s inability to pump an adequate supply of blood to the body. Without sufficient blood flow, all major body functions are disrupted. Heart failure is a condition or a collection of symptoms that weaken your heart.
In some people with heart failure, the heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to support other organs in the body. Other people may have a hardening and stiffening of the heart muscle itself, which blocks or reduces blood flow to the heart.
Heart failure can affect the right or left side of your heart, or both at the same time. It can be either an acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing) condition.
In acute heart failure, the symptoms appear suddenly but go away fairly quickly. This condition often occurs after a heart attack. It may also be a result of a problem with the heart valves that control the flow of blood in the heart.
In chronic heart failure, however, symptoms are continuous and don’t improve over time. The vast majority of heart failure cases are chronic.
About 5.7 million AmericansTrusted Source have heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these people are men. However, women are more likely to die from heart failure when the condition goes untreated.
Heart failure is a serious medical condition that requires treatment. Early treatment increases your chances of long-term recovery with fewer complications. Call your doctor right away if you’re having any symptoms of heart failure.
What are the different types of heart failure?
Heart failure can occur in either the left or right side of your heart. It’s also possible for both sides of your heart to fail at the same time.
Heart failure is also classified as either diastolic or systolic.
Left-sided heart failure
Left-sided heart failure is the most common type of heart failure.
The left heart ventricle is located in the bottom left side of your heart. This area pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.
Left-sided heart failure occurs when the left ventricle doesn’t pump efficiently. This prevents your body from getting enough oxygen-rich blood. The blood backs up into your lungs instead, which causes shortness of breath and a buildup of fluid.
Right-sided heart failure
The right heart ventricle is responsible for pumping blood to your lungs to collect oxygen. Right-sided heart failure occurs when the right side of your heart can’t perform its job effectively. It’s usually triggered by left-sided heart failure. The accumulation of blood in the lungs caused by left-sided heart failure makes the right ventricle work harder. This can stress the right side of the heart and cause it to fail.
Right-sided heart failure can also occur as a result of other conditions, such as lung disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, right-sided heart failure is marked by swelling of the lower extremities. This swelling is caused by fluid backup in the legs, feet, and abdomen.
Diastolic heart failure
Diastolic heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes stiffer than normal. The stiffness, which is usually due to heart disease, means that your heart doesn’t fill with blood easily. This is known as diastolic dysfunction. It leads to a lack of blood flow to the rest of the organs in your body.
Diastolic heart failure is more common in women than in men.
Systolic heart failure
Systolic heart failure occurs when the heart muscle loses its ability to contract. The contractions of the heart are necessary to pump oxygen-rich blood out to the body. This problem is known as systolic dysfunction, and it usually develops when your heart is weak and enlarged.
Systolic heart failure is more common in men than in women.
Both diastolic and systolic heart failure can occur on the left or right sides of the heart. You may have either condition on both sides of the heart.
How the normal heart works
The normal healthy heart is a strong, muscular pump a little larger than a fist. It pumps blood continuously through the circulatory system.
Watch an animation of blood flow through the heart.
The heart has four chambers, two on the right and two on the left:
- Two upper chambers called atria (one is called an atrium)
- Two lower chambers called ventricles
The right atrium takes in oxygen-depleted blood from the rest of the body and sends it back out to the lungs through the right ventricle where the blood becomes oxygenated.
Oxygen-rich blood travels from the lungs to the left atrium, then on to the left ventricle, which pumps it to the rest of the body.
The heart pumps blood to the lungs and to all the body’s tissues through a sequence of highly organized contractions of the four chambers. For the heart to function properly, the four chambers must beat in an organized way.
What are the symptoms of heart failure?
The symptoms of heart failure may include:
- excessive fatigue
- sudden weight gain
- a loss of appetite
- persistent coughing
- irregular pulse
- heart palpitations
- abdominal swelling
- shortness of breath
- leg and ankle swelling
- protruding neck veins
What causes heart failure?
Heart failure is most often related to another disease or illness. The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease (CAD), a disorder that causes narrowing of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Other conditions that may increase your risk for developing heart failure include:
- cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that causes the heart to become weak
- a congenital heart defect
- a heart attack
- heart valve disease
- certain types of arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms
- high blood pressure
- emphysema, a disease of the lung
- an overactive or underactive thyroid
- severe forms of anemia
- certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- drug or alcohol misuse
What are the risk factors for heart failure?
Heart failure can happen to anyone. However, certain factors may increase your risk of developing this condition.
People of African descent are at the highest risk trusted Source of having heart failure compared to other races. Men have a higher incidenceTrusted Source than women.
People with diseases that damage the heart are also at an increased risk. These diseases include:
Certain behaviors can also increase your risk of developing heart failure, including:
- eating foods high in fat or cholesterol
- living a sedentary lifestyle
- being overweight
What are the stages of heart failure?
Heart failure is a chronic long-term condition that gets worse with time. There are 4 stages of heart failure (Stage A, B, C, and D). The stages range from “high risk of developing heart failure” to “advanced heart failure,” and provide treatment plans. Ask your healthcare provider what stage of heart failure you are in. These stages are different from the New York Heart Association (NYHA) clinical classifications of heart failure (Class I-II-III-IV) that reflect the severity of symptoms or functional limits due to heart failure.
As the condition gets worse, your heart muscle pumps less blood to your organs, and you move toward the next stage of heart failure. You cannot go back through the stages. For example, if you are in Stage B, you cannot be in Stage A again. The goal of treatment is to keep you from progressing through the stages or to slow down the progression.
Treatment at each stage of heart failure may involve changes to medications, lifestyle behaviors, and cardiac devices. You can compare your treatment plan with those listed for each stage of heart failure. The treatments listed are based on current treatment guidelines. The table outlines a basic plan of care that may apply to you. If you have any questions about any part of your treatment plan, ask a member of your healthcare team.
Stage A is considered pre-heart failure. It means you are at high risk of developing heart failure because you have a family history of heart failure or you have one of more of these medical conditions:
- Coronary artery disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- History of alcohol abuse
- History of rheumatic fever
- Family history of cardiomyopathy
- History of taking drugs that can damage the heart muscle, such as some cancer drugs
Stage A treatment
The usual treatment plan for patients with Stage A heart failure includes:
- Regular exercise, being active, walking every day
- Quitting smoking
- Treatment for high blood pressure (medication, low-sodium diet, active lifestyle)
- Treatment for high cholesterol
- Not drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) if you have coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or other vascular or cardiac conditions
- Beta-blocker if you have high blood pressure
Stage B is considered a pre-heart failure. It means you have been diagnosed with systolic left ventricular dysfunction but have never had symptoms of heart failure. Most people with Stage B heart failure have an echocardiogram (echo) that shows an ejection fraction (EF) of 40% or less. This category includes people who have heart failure and reduced EF (HF rEF) due to any cause.
Stage B treatment
The usual treatment plan for patients with Stage B heart failure includes:
- Treatments listed in Stage A
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) (if you aren’t taking one as part of your Stage A treatment plan)
- Beta-blocker if you have had a heart attack and your EF is 40% or lower (if you aren’t taking one as part of your Stage A treatment plan)
- Aldosterone antagonist if you have had a heart attack or if you have diabetes and an EF of 35% or less (to reduce the risk of your heart muscle getting bigger and pumping poorly)
- Possible surgery or intervention as a treatment for coronary artery blockage, heart attack, valve disease (you may need valve repair or replacement surgery) or congenital heart disease
Patients with Stage C heart failure have been diagnosed with heart failure and have (currently) or had (previously) signs and symptoms of the condition.
There are many possible symptoms of heart failure. The most common are:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired (fatigue)
- Less able to exercise
- Weak legs
- Waking up to urinate
- Swollen feet, ankles, lower legs and abdomen (edema)
Stage C treatment
The usual treatment plan for patients with Stage C HF-rEF includes:
- Treatments listed in Stages A and B
- Beta-blocker (if you aren’t taking one) to help your heart muscle pump stronger
- Aldosterone antagonist (if you aren’t taking one) if a vasodilator medicine (ACE-I, ARB or angiotensin receptor/neprilysin inhibitor combination) and beta-blocker don’t relieve your symptoms
- Hydralazine/nitrate combination if other treatments don’t stop your symptoms. Patients who are African-American should take this medication (even if they are taking other vasodilator medications) if they have moderate to-severe symptoms.
- Medications that slow the heart rate if your heart rate is faster than 70 beats per minute and you still have symptoms
- Diuretic (“water pill”) may be prescribed if symptoms continue
- Restrict sodium (salt) in your diet. Ask your doctor or nurse what your daily limit is.
- Keep track of your weight every day. Tell your healthcare provider if you gain or lose more than 4 pounds from your “dry” weight.
- Possible fluid restriction. Ask your doctor or nurse what your daily fluid limit is.
- Possible cardiac resynchronization therapy (biventricular pacemaker)
- Possible implantable cardiac defibrillator (lCD) therapy
If the treatment causes your symptoms to get better or stop, you still need to continue treatment to slow the progression to Stage D.
Stage D and reduced E
Patients with Stage D HF-rEF have advanced symptoms that do not get better with treatment. This is the final stage of heart failure.
Stage D treatment
The usual treatment plan for patients with Stage D heart failure includes:
- Treatments listed in Stages A, B and C
- Evaluation for more advanced treatment options, including:
- Heart transplant
- Ventricular assist devices
- Heart surgery
- Continuous infusion of intravenous inotropic drugs
- Palliative or hospice care
- Research therapies
Stages C and D with preserved EF
Treatment for patients with Stage C and Stage D heart failure and reserved EF (HF-pEF) includes:
- Treatments listed in Stages A and B
- Medications for the treatment of medical conditions that can cause heart failure or make the condition worse, such as atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease, chronic lung disease, high cholesterol, and kidney disease
- Diuretic (“water pill”) to reduce or relieve symptoms
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR TREATMENT PLAN!
It is up to you to take steps to improve your heart health. Take your medications as instructed, follow a low-sodium diet, stay active or become physically active, take notice of sudden changes in your weight, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and track your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare team about questions or concerns you have about your medications, lifestyle changes or any other part of your treatment plan.
How Can I Prevent Heart Failure From Worsening?
- Keep your blood pressure low. In heart failure, the release of hormones causes the blood vessels to constrict or tighten. The heart must work hard to pump blood through the constricted vessels. It is important to keep your blood pressure controlled so that your heart can pump more effectively without extra stress.
- Monitor your own symptoms. Check for changes in your fluid status by weighing yourself daily and checking for swelling. Call your doctor if you have unexplained weight gain (3 pounds in one day or 5 pounds in one week) or if you have increased swelling.
- Maintain fluid balance. Your doctor may ask you to keep a record of the amount of fluids you drink or eat and how often you go to the bathroom. Remember, the more fluid you carry in your blood vessels, the harder your heart must work to pump excess fluid through your body. Limiting your fluid intake to less than 2 liters per day will help decrease the workload of your heart and prevent symptoms from recurring.
- Limit how much salt (sodium) you eat. Sodium is found naturally in many foods we eat. It is also added for flavoring or to make food last longer. If you follow a low-sodium diet, you should have less fluid retention, less swelling, and breathe easier.
- Monitor your weight and lose weight if needed. Learn what your “dry” or “ideal” weight is. Dry weight is your weight without extra water (fluid). Your goal is to keep your weight within 4 pounds of your dry weight. Weigh yourself at the same time each day, preferably in the morning, in similar clothing, after urinating but before eating, and on the same scale. Record your weight in a diary or calendar. If you gain three pounds in one day or five pounds in one week, call your doctor. Your doctor may want to adjust your medications.
- Monitor your symptoms. Call your doctor if new symptoms occur or if your symptoms worsen. Do not wait for your symptoms to become so severe that you need to seek emergency treatment.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Medications are used to improve your heart’s ability to pump blood, decrease stress on your heart, decrease the progression of heart failure, and prevent fluid retention. Many heart failure drugs are used to decrease the release of harmful hormones. These drugs will cause your blood vessels to dilate or relax (thereby lowering your blood pressure).
- Schedule regular doctor appointments. During follow-up visits, your doctors will make sure you are staying healthy and that your heart failure is not getting worse. Your doctor will ask to review your weight record and list of medications. If you have questions, write them down and bring them to your appointment. Call your doctor if you have urgent questions. Notify all your doctors about your heart failure, medications, and any restrictions. Also, check with your heart doctor about any new medications prescribed by another doctor. Keep good records and bring them with you to each doctor visit.
How Can I Prevent Further Heart Damage?
In an effort to prevent further heart damage:
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Reach and maintain your healthy weight.
- Control high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
- Exercise regularly.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Have surgery or other procedures to treat your heart failure as recommended.
What Medications Should I Avoid if I Have Heart Failure?
There are several different types of medications that are best avoided in those with heart failure including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Aleve. For relief of aches, pains, or fever take Tylenol instead.
- Some antiarrhythmic agents
- Most calcium channel blockers (if you have systolic heart failure)
- Some nutritional supplements, such as salt substitutes, and growth hormone therapies
- Antacids that contain sodium (salt)
- Decongestants such as Sudafed
If you are taking any of these drugs, discuss them with your doctor.
It is important to know the names of your medications, what they are used for, and how often and at what times you take them. Keep a list of your medications and bring them with you to each of your doctor visits. Never stop taking your medications without discussing it with your doctor. Even if you have no symptoms, your medications decrease the work of your heart so that it can pump more effectively.
How Can I Improve My Quality of Life With Heart Failure?
There are several things you can do to improve your quality of life if you have heart failure. Among them:
- Eat a healthy diet. Limit your consumption of sodium (salt) to less than 2,000 milligrams (2 grams) each day. Eat foods high in fiber. Limit foods high in trans fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Reduce total daily intake of calories to lose weight if necessary.
- Exercise regularly. A regular cardiovascular exercise program, prescribed by your doctor, will help improve your strength and make you feel better. It may also decrease heart failure progression.
- Don’t overdo it. Plan your activities and include rest periods during the day. Certain activities, such as pushing or pulling heavy objects and shoveling may worsen heart failure and its symptoms.
- Prevent respiratory infections. Ask your doctor about flu and pneumonia vaccines.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Do not stop taking them without first contacting your doctor.
- Get emotional or psychological support if needed. Heart failure can be difficult for your whole family. If you have questions, ask your doctor or nurse. If you need emotional support, social workers, psychologists, clergy, and heart failure support groups are a phone call away. Ask your doctor or nurse to point you in the right direction.
Can Surgery Be Used to Treat Heart Failure?
In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the heart’s function. Procedures used include:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is bypass surgery. Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
- Heart valve surgery . Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically (traditional heart valve surgery) and non-surgically (balloon valvuloplasty).
- Implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD is known as the “bridge to transplantation” for patients who haven’t responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
- Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it does not respond to all other therapies, but the person’s health is otherwise good.
Heart Failure Treatment Is a Team Effort
Heart failure management is a team effort, and you are the key player on the team. Your heart doctor will prescribe your medications and manage other medical problems. Other team members — including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and social workers — will help you achieve success. But it is up to YOU to take your medications, make dietary changes, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the team.
What Is the Outlook for People With Heart Failure?
With the right care, heart failure may not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
Everyone with a long-term illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An “advance directive” or “living will” is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time.
Diagnosis of Heart Failure
Most people will initially see their doctor if they have symptoms. The doctor will discuss the symptoms with the patient. If the doctor suspects heart failure, he will recommend further tests, these may include:
- Blood and urine tests – these will check the patient’s blood count and liver, thyroid, and kidney function. The doctor may also want to check the blood for specific chemical markers of heart failure.
- Chest X-ray – an X-ray will show whether the heart is enlarged. It will also show whether there is fluid in the lungs.
- An ECG (electrocardiogram) – this device records the electrical activity and rhythms of the patient’s heart. The test may also reveal any damage to the heart from a heart attack. Heart attacks are often the underlying cause of heart failure.
- An echocardiogram – this is an ultrasound scan that checks the pumping action of the patient’s heart. The doctor measures the percentage of blood pumped out of the patient’s left ventricle (the main pumping chamber) with each heartbeat – this measurement is called the ejection fraction.
The doctor may also carry out the following additional tests:
- Stress test – the aim here is to stress the heart and study it. The patient may have to use a treadmill or exercise machine, or take a medication that stresses the heart.
- Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan – they can measure ejection fraction as well as the heart arteries and valves. They can also determine whether the patient had a heart attack.
- B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) blood test – BNP is released into the blood if the heart is overfilled and struggling to function properly.
- Angiogram (coronary catheterization) – a catheter (thin, flexible tube) is introduced into a blood vessel until it goes through the aorta into the patient’s coronary arteries. The catheter usually enters the body at the groin or arm. A dye is injected through the catheter into the arteries. This dye stands out on an X-ray and helps doctors detect coronary artery disease (arteries to the heart that have narrowed) – another cause of heart failure.
Prevention and management of Heart Failure
There are many lifestyle changes that reduce the chances of developing heart failure or at least slow down its progression. These include:
- Give up smoking.
- Eat sensibly, this includes plenty of fruit and vegetable, good quality fats, unrefined carbohydrates, whole grains, and the right amount of daily calories.
- Exercise regularly and stay physically active (check with your doctor).
- Keep blood pressure low.
- Maintain healthy body weight.
- Quit alcohol, or at least consume alcohol within the national recommended limits Trusted Source.
- Get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep each night.
- Mental stress may be bad for the heart over the long-term. Try to find ways of reducing exposure to mental stress.
- Individuals who already have heart failure should be up-to-date with their vaccinations and have a yearly flu shot.
Treatments for Heart Failure
Damage to the heart’s pumping action caused by heart failure cannot be repaired. Nevertheless, current treatments can significantly improve the quality of life of the patient by keeping the condition under control and helping relieve many of the symptoms.
Treatment also focuses on treating any conditions that may be causing the heart failure, which in turn lessens the burden on the heart. A doctor or cardiologist will discuss treatment options with the patient and suggest the best choices, depending on individual circumstances.
Some common treatments for heart failure include:
- ACE inhibitors (inhibitors of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) – these drugs help the arteries relax, lower blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body – they lower the heart’s workload. Ace inhibitors generally boost the performance of the heart and invariably improve the quality of life of the heart failure patient. These drugs are unsuitable for some patients, though. They can cause an irritating cough in some people.
- Diuretics – these help patients with swollen ankles. They also relieve breathlessness caused by heart failure. Diuretics remove water and salt from the kidneys in the urine. There are three main types of diuretics – loop diuretics, thiazide diuretics, and potassium-sparing diuretics.
- Anticoagulants – these drugs make it harder for the blood to clot; they help thin the blood and help prevent a stroke. The most commonly used anticoagulant is Warfarin. However, it has to be carefully monitored by the doctor to ensure the blood-thinning effect is not excessive, and it will only be used if you have another reason to thin your blood. There have been a lot of studies on this discussion point. Most point toward no anticoagulation in patients without a diagnosis of fibrillation with or without another indication.
- Digoxin – a drug for patients with fast irregular heart rhythm. Digoxin slows down the heartbeat.
- Beta-blockers – all heart failure patients benefit from beta-blockers.
- Antiplatelet medicine – these stop the blood platelets from forming clots in the blood. Aspirin is an antiplatelet drug that can be suitable for people with a very high risk of a heart attack or stroke and a low risk of bleeding. Current guidelines no longer recommend the widespread use of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Not everybody with heart failure responds to drug treatment. There are some surgical options: Coronary artery bypass graft – this is the most common surgery for congestive heart failure that has been caused by coronary artery disease.
Heart valve surgery – to repair a defective valve that leads to increased heart work.
Implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) – for patients who have not responded to other treatments, and are hospitalized, this can help the heart pump blood. It is often used for individuals who are waiting for a transplant.
Heart transplant – if no other treatments or surgeries help, transplant is the final option. Transplants are only considered if the patient is healthy other than the problem with their heart.
Frequently Asked Questions about Heart Failure
What is heart failure?
Heart failure simply describes a condition in which the heart fails to work as it should, and it cannot pump blood to sufficiently meet the body’s needs. Heart failure does not necessarily mean the heart has stopped working. . Heart failure is a serious condition that needs medical attention, but it can often be managed successfully with medications and lifestyle changes.
True or false: Congestive heart failure and heart failure are the same
False. “Heart failure” and “congestive heart failure” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a specific type of heart failure where fluid “congestion” collects in the lungs and other body tissues. When the heart is not able to pump efficiently, the kidneys don’t receive as much blood so they work less efficiently and less fluid is filtered out of the body as urine. This fluid backs up throughout the body, especially the lungs, legs and ankles, and the abdomen.
There are three types of heart failure. True or False?
True. There are three types of heart failure:
- Left-sided heart failure: The heart cannot effectively pump blood out to the body.
- Right-sided heart failure: Usually occurs as a result of left-sided heart failure. The right side of the heart becomes damaged, and blood starts backing up in the body.
- Congestive heart failure: Fluid collects mainly in the lungs and other body tissues.
What are the common signs and symptoms of heart failure?
Common signs and symptoms of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Swelling (edema)
- Loss of appetite
- Fast heart rate
True or False: A patient can have heart failure without being aware of it.
True. It’s common for people to be in the early stages of heart failure and not be aware of it. Early on, there may be no symptoms because the body and heart can often compensate for any deficits. When symptoms start they may resemble other illnesses.
Early symptoms include shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, extreme fatigue, and weakness. In some cases, heart failure can occur suddenly and symptoms may include severe shortness of breath, irregular or fast heartbeat, and a cough with foamy, pink mucus. If you experience any signs and symptoms of heart failure, see a doctor.
What are the risk factors for heart failure?
Risk factors for heart failure include:
- Other heart-related conditions including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, previous heart attack, abnormal heart valves, congenital heart defects, heart muscle disease, abnormal heart rhythm
- Other medical conditions including high blood pressure, lung disease, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), severe anemia
- Lifestyle factors: smoking, lack of exercise, eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- Age 65 and older
How many adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with heart failure?
About 6.5 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with heart failure. This number has been steadily increasing and the American Heart Association estimates there will be more than 8 million people with the condition by 2030.
The incidence of heart failure is thought to be increasing because risk factors are on the rise. More people are surviving heart attacks due to better medical care, however, a previous heart attack increases the risk for heart failure.
Diabetes and obesity, other risk factors, are becoming health epidemics. Finally, the population of the elderly is growing, and increased age is a risk factor for heart failure.