Heart failure: when your heart needs your help
How does your heart work?
Your heart is the engine that provides fuel to your whole body. It works in two phases:
- Diastole: Your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
- Systole: It contracts and pumps out blood throughout your body.
What causes heart failure?
Heart failure can be caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure, an imbalance in your nervous system, or other conditions that progressively weaken the heart.
Keeping heart failure under control is vital
If you've been diagnosed with heart failure, it means that your heart can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. This condition is generally associated with a sense of fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, swollen legs and ankles, and often a need to sleep with the head elevated. As you are probably already experiencing, the symptoms of heart failure can have a serious impact on your quality of life. They can limit your ability to perform daily activities and put your whole life at risk. Understandably, multiple medications and hospital stays can also make living more difficult.
Despite advances in medications and treatments, millions of people with heart failure continue to have symptoms. Many patients are not eligible for end-stage heart failure therapies, cardiac resynchronization therapy, or heart transplantation. 1
Since heart failure tends to get even worse with time, keeping your condition under control is vital. Are you taking control of heart failure before it controls you?
1. Abraham WT et al. Baroreflex Activation Therapy for the Treatment of Heart Failure With a Reduced Ejection Fraction. JACC Heart Fail. 2015 Jun;3(6):487-96.