Heart failure is a life-threatening, yet potentially treatable condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. This can happen when the heart has become too weak or stiff. It’s a long-term condition which tends to get worse over time, therefore the heart requires support to keep blood flowing. It cannot be cured, but the symptoms in lots of cases can be controlled for many years if diagnosed in the early stages.1
No! It’s a common misconception that ‘heart failure’ and ‘heart attack’ are two names for the same thing, and while they do share some common causes, they are in fact different.
Most heart attacks happen suddenly, when one of the arteries leading to the heart becomes occluded and cuts off the blood flow. This means the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough oxygen and starts to become damaged. While heart attacks are usually sudden, heart failure tends to develop gradually.
Heart failure can be a long-term (chronic) condition that can gradually get worse, however there are medical treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help to slow progression and improve the quality of life for people living with heart failure.2
We conducted a survey with the UK general public to understand how familiar people are with heart failure, its symptoms and causes.
Heart failure can develop for a number of reasons, the most common causes are heart attacks, hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle).3 Other reasons can include:4
Sunil, Sandra, Bob and Ruth have all had a heart failure diagnosis. Read each of their stories to find out the impact heart failure has had on their lives and discover what they have been doing to fight the condition.
Sunil lived with heart failure for over six years. Watch his documentary or read his story to learn about his experiences and the impact heart failure had on his and his family's lives.Sunil's Story
In 2009, Bob from Leeds was diagnosed with heart failure. He was participating in a Crown Green Bowling match as Captain of his local team when he began to feel faint and experienced an arrhythmic episode. Following a visit to his GP, he attended a consultation with his local cardiologist. Living with heart failure has become a continuance of the cardiovascular challenges Bob has lived with for almost his entire life. Read more of Bob’s story now.Bob's Story
During April 2016, Ruth was 28 weeks pregnant and seemingly feeling the 'normal' effects of pregnancy with feelings of sickness, exhaustion and breathlessness, in addition to a constant cough and trouble sleeping. Symptoms were put down to potential pregnancy anaemia and general working life. Read Ruth's story to discover her diagnosis of heart failure and the impact on her life.Ruth's Story