WHAT IS HEART FAILURE?

 
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Fighting Failure is a disease awareness campaign that has been sponsored and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

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UNDERSTANDING HEART FAILURE

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

IS ‘HEART FAILURE’ ANOTHER TERM FOR A HEART ATTACK?

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 blocked and cuts off the blood flow. This means the heart muscle doesn’t get 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 treatments that can help to slow progression and improve the quality of life for people living with heart failure.2

Dr Jim Moore

Dr Jim Moore is a GP with a specialist interest in Cardiology. He works in a community heart failure service in Gloucestershire and is currently the President of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society.

What can lead to heart failure?

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).4 Other reasons can include:4

  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart defects at birth (also known as 'congenital defects')
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Genetic conditions
  • Heart valve defects
  • Stroke
  • Some cancer treatments, e.g., chemotherapy
  • Anaemia
  • Thyroid gland disease

WHEN SHOULD I SEEK SUPPORT?

You should seek medical support if you’ve noticed any of the symptoms associated with heart failure. If you’re already diagnosed, you should seek support if you notice any deterioration or change in your symptoms.

recognise the symptoms

Can you spot the symptoms of heart failure? Learn the symptoms and spot the signs.
Find out more

LIVING WITH HEART FAILURE

Learn about the role of heart failure teams and the care plans designed to help those living with heart failure.
Find out more

MONITOR YOUR CONDITION

Fill in this quick questionnaire to keep track of your symptoms on a weekly basis.
Find out more

References

  1. NHS Heart Failure Overview. Available online at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-failure/. [Last accessed: July 2021]
  2. WebMD. Difference Between Heart Failure and Heart Attack. Available online at: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/heartattack-vs-heartfailure#1. [Last accessed: July 2021]
  3. Trends in survival after a diagnosis of heart failure in the United Kingdom 2000-2017: population based cohort study Available online at: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l223. [Last accessed: July 2021]
  4. British Heart Foundation. Heart Failure. Available online at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/heart-failure. [Last accessed: July 2021]

UK | September 2021 | 131141

Fighting Failure is a disease awareness campaign that has been sponsored and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

© 2021 Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited is a private limited liability company registered in England and Wales under number 119006 Registered office 2nd Floor, The WestWorks Building, White City Place, 195 Wood Lane, London, W12 7FQ.

Reporting side effects
If you get side-effects with any medication you are taking, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the information leaflet that comes in the pack. You can report side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme at https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ (UK). By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of your medication.

UK | September 2021 | 131108