Community Views: Frustrating Myths About Heart Failure

As someone with heart failure, you may have heard a few myths about your condition. People may believe in myths because they do not have a full understanding of heart failure. But myths about heart failure can be frustrating and hurtful, especially if they come from loved ones.

To learn more about the frustrating myths about heart failure, we reached out to the Facebook community. We asked, “Which myth about heart failure is the most frustrating?”

Here are some of the responses.

Your heart has failed you

A common misunderstanding about heart failure comes from the name itself. According to the comments from the community, a common myth is that the term "heart failure" means your heart has failed.

Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped working. Heart failure is a condition that occurs when your heart cannot pump enough blood. But the name itself leads people to think your heart cannot work anymore.1

Some people may make this assumption because they do not have a full understanding of heart failure. You can teach your loved ones about heart failure or encourage them to learn more on their own. This will help them understand more about the condition.

"I hate to say heart failure – I do not think my heart has failed me. Whoever said it was heart failure or heart attack is wrong. Our hearts do not fail or attack us."

“That your heart is shut down.”

You look okay so that must mean you feel okay

People with heart failure may not have any visible signs of the disease. Many symptoms – like tiredness or trouble breathing – may not be visible to someone else. But that does not mean the person with heart failure is not experiencing symptoms.2

Myths like this one can be hurtful. It makes it seem like you are making up your symptoms. Even though people may not be able to see your symptoms, know that your experience is real and valid.

“Just because you look good, that does not mean heart failure will go away. People tend to think because you don’t 'look sick' that there is nothing wrong with you.”

“You look so healthy. It is all in your head.”

Exercise will cure you

A few respondents shared that people in their life assume that exercise can cure heart failure. This myth can be frustrating because it does not take into consideration that exercise can be difficult for people with heart failure.

While getting physical activity can be a part of the treatment plan, it will not cure heart failure. There is no cure for heart failure. 3

“That it can be exercised away.”

“That you could fix it if you exercised more.”

It is your fault

A frustrating myth about heart failure is that you are the one who caused it. Heart failure can happen for different reasons, but it is important to remember that it is not your fault.

Heart failure can happen because of:4

  • Other chronic (ongoing) conditions
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Aging
  • Inherited genes

While you can try to lower your risk of disease with healthy lifestyle habits, there are many factors that are outside of your control. This myth may cause you to feel guilty or ashamed. But you have to remember that you are not the cause of your heart failure.

“That you somehow caused your heart failure.”

“That you’re lazy and that is what caused heart failure.”

Thank you for sharing frustrating myths about heart failure

Thank you for being a part of the community. For those who shared their experiences, we appreciate your vulnerability and generosity. We look forward to future discussions.

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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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