Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Heart Failure

Last updated: April 2020

Millions of people have a heart failure (HF) diagnosis. Whether you have HF or know someone who does, here is a guide to the basics.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure (HF) is a complex syndrome with physiological signs and symptoms that develop when the heart is not functioning properly. A heart failure diagnosis, according to established guidelines, is based on several criteria including the presence of symptoms and evidence of cardiac dysfunction on diagnostic tests, and/or a favorable response to treatment.1 Click here to read more.

What are the types of heart failure?

Heart failure can be classified by the time and speed of onset, which side(s) of the heart is affected, the heart's pumping ability (ejection fraction), and/or a patient's response to treatment. Click here to read more.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Heart failure can present differently in everyone, but some of the most common symptoms are dyspnea (shortness of breath with activity), fatigue and weakness, persistent coughing, edema (swelling), orthopnea (shortness of breath while lying down), heart palpitations, nausea, and confusion. Click here to read more.

How is heart failure diagnosed?

Heart failure is often diagnosed after other conditions are ruled out. It is important to communicate the timeline of your symptoms with your healthcare provider who will likely want to learn your medical history. There are numerous diagnostic tests - blood work, urinalysis, imaging tests, etc. - that can help clarify what is going on in your body. Early diagnosis can lead to better long-term outcomes. Click here to read more.

How is heart failure treated?

Heart failure treatments help delay the condition's progression over time. Treatment selection depends on heart failure type, cause, symptoms, and severity. The most common treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. Click here to read more.

What are the causes of heart failure?

Like most conditions, heart failure has a number of potential causes and risk factors. Causes can include comorbidities (other health conditions) and past health events while risk factors include age, ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status. Click here to read more.

How common is heart failure?

Over 5 million Americans and 25 million people globally are estimated to have heart failure. Given the aging global population, experts predict the number of heart failure patients to rise in the coming decades. Click here to read more.

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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 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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