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Community Views: Limitations With Heart Failure

Last updated: February 2022

Learning to live with heart failure can be challenging. Even small activities may require much more energy than they once did. Some activities may even become impossible.

To better understand how life changes after someone receives a heart failure diagnosis, we turned to the Heart-Failure.net Facebook page. We asked community members to tell us: "What is one thing you can no longer do because of heart failure?"

Responses to the prompt varied from completing routine tasks to missing out on favorite hobbies and pastimes. Here is a snapshot of what the community had to say.

Going to work

For so many people, jobs provide a sense of purpose. They can help us feel fulfilled and grounded. When the physical limitations of heart failure force someone to quit their job, it can be a hard and disappointing adjustment.

“I really miss being able to work. I loved working and now don’t have the energy or stamina to do much of anything anymore. I miss the interaction with people.” 

“I lost my job because I could not pass the work physical.”

"Being able to work."

"Teaching. I had to walk away from a job I loved doing. I just don't have the energy necessary to do the job right."

Taking walks, hiking, dancing, and more

For many community members, life before heart failure was filled with long walks and other enjoyable physical activities. However, a number of you shared how your diagnosis has required you to scale back your activity level.

“Taking the dog for long walks.”

“Walking is the worst. My legs have gotten very weak. I can only walk short distances and breathing when moving is a challenge.”

“Hiking, camping, and just grabbing a backpack and taking off into the mountains. It was the only place where I ever felt whole, at peace, and truly alive. Now it is all but a distant memory.”

"Kayaking."

"Walking. I loved to go for walks in my community and dance."

"Scuba diving."

"I miss being able to walk a long distance without having to stop."

"Can't walk the mall with friends anymore. I'm out of breath just walking in the mall."

Spending time with family

Family outings and gatherings can offer a sense of connection, but they can also be physically and mentally draining. Instead of saying yes to parties, family reunions, and other fun activities with your loved ones, heart failure has forced you to decline their invitations.

“I miss my energy and miss going places with my family because I can’t walk the distance and get short of breath from walking.”

“I miss shopping with my sisters.”

“I love my great-grandchildren, but heart failure often takes my energy.”

"Being able to travel to family gatherings."

"Go out with family and friends."

Completing chores

Many community members shared that heart failure makes it difficult and sometimes even impossible to complete household chores. Whether it is mowing the grass, cleaning, or shoveling snow, you miss rolling up your sleeves and taking care of your home and lawn. It can be frustrating that you can no longer keep up with the tasks you once took pride in.

"I can no longer clean my 525 square-foot apartment in 1 day. I get so tired and out of energy. When I do clean 1 part, I am unable to do anything else."

"I can’t mow the yard and driveway or cut back the blackberries. In other words, yard maintenance."

"Mow my grass. I’m 70, but I love mowing my grass."

"Deep cleaning my house."

"Yard work and gardening."

Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with this story. We appreciate your contributions, all of which help those new to the community learn more about the heart failure journey.

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