Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen. Basically, the heart can't keep up with its workload.
Often heart failure is triggered from a heart event where the muscle gets damaged, like a heart attack. However other chronic health problems like long-term high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease (cardiomyopathy) can also cause it.
A weakened heart muscle means you often feel tired and fatigued. As the muscle struggles to work, blood can ‘dam up’ behind the heart and cause fluid to collect in your lungs or other body tissues, which means you could feel short of breath or notice swelling in your legs or ankles. Heart failure can involve the heart's left side, right side or both sides. However, it usually affects the left side first.
Around 300,000 Australians are living with heart failure, and every year around another 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with it.
This table lists the most common signs and symptoms, explains why they occur and describes how to recognize them.
Heart failure caused by damage to the heart that has developed over time can't be cured. But it can be treated, quite often with strategies to improve symptoms.
Your treatment plan may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Surgical Procedures Without Devices
- Implantable Medical Devices
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