different reactions to heart failure diagnosis

Community Views: My Diagnosis Reaction

You may feel a range of emotions when first hearing that you are living with heart failure. It can be difficult to consider how it can change your daily life. Going through a diagnosis can be scary as much as it can be a relief to treat your symptoms.

We reached out to community members on the Heart-Failure.net facebook page. We asked them to fill in the blank:

My first emotional response to finding out I was diagnosed with heart failure was _______________________.

We received over 300 responses to our prompt! Community members shared what they felt when they first heard the news.


Family is crucial to how you may feel about your recent heart failure diagnosis. It is important to know how it may affect those around you. Knowing you have the support of your family can give you the strength to persevere.

"I said, ok, then fix it, so I can get on with raising my kids...I was a single mom with 5 kids and I said no way am I going to die...That was about 30 years ago, and I'm still going strong."

"Had to be strong. Wasn’t ready to leave my adult children...They need their mom even though they are grown."

"That I wouldn’t get to see my granddaughter graduate or get married."

"I've got to teach all my kids how to do it on their own."

"My wife and kids."

A sense of relief

You may have felt relief when hearing your diagnosis. Knowing what you are living with can allow you to treat it properly. At the same time, you may also feel grateful as you know your available options.

"I was relieved to be alive and then as time passed I went through a stage of fear, depression, and then determination to do what I can with exercise and a better diet."

"Relief, been thinking I was crazy for years. Everything would come back normal, but I felt beyond exhausted, nauseous, weak...no results until finally my doctor sent me to a cardiologist. Been almost 3 years and at least I can manage and know my limits."

"Relief. I had been kept completely in the dark by my previous cardiologist."

"After going into cardiac arrest, I was just happy to be alive."


You may be surprised to hear the severity of your heart failure diagnosis. It can come as a shock to hear the severity of your condition.

"Shock, it took me a few days for it to sink in. Then they came and told me I had chronic kidney disease also. I try not to think about it too much. I don't want to get depressed because that would only make everything worse."

"Disbelief. I had always thought my problems were just something else. But not anything serious. That came as a big surprise!"

"Surprised. But some things make sense now. Just do my best and keep going and do what I need."


Hearing you have heart failure can be scary. It is normal to be afraid of the coming days and how your life may change. Even so, you can still live a long and happy life with proper care and treatment.

"Anxiety and fear of not being able to see my babies grow. Here I am 11 years later. God has blessed me with so much to keep living for."

"I failed my family and God by not taking better care of my body. I thought I was going to die and I was scared. I know now 5 months later it's manageable if I do the cardio rehab or any cardio activity along with a low-salt diet and taking my medication."

"I'm gonna die young like my dad did from the same thing. I no longer feel this way, but I remember that thought vividly."

"Fear...and at the same time kidney failure was diagnosed."

Thank you for sharing your reactions to your heart failure diagnosis

Thank you to all the Heart-Failure.net community members for responding to our prompt! We are grateful that so many of you shared your personal experiences. Your stories help others in the community understand that they are not alone in what they are feeling.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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