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Heart Failure Awareness Week – 29 April – 5 May 2024

Heart failure is when the heart becomes less effective at pumping blood and oxygen around the body.

Heart failure does not mean your heart is going to stop, rather it is failing to work as well as it should.  The term ‘heart failure’ can sound quite frightening and the diagnosis can be devastating.

However, many people with heart failure can achieve a good quality of life through appropriate medications, making changes to lifestyle, and possible devices and/or surgical interventions. 

Appropriate medications and treatments can both improve length of life and quality of life. 

The earlier people present with symptoms, the faster they can get access to heart failure specialist care and evidence-based treatment.

The main symptoms of heart failure are:

  • Shortness of breath particularly when you’re active or sometimes when lying flat in bed causing you to wake up.
  • Swollen feet, ankles, legs or abdomen (stomach) due to fluid build-up which may extend to upper legs, groin and small of the back.
  • Feeling unusually tired or fatigued after only a small amount of activity, because there’s not enough blood and oxygen getting to your muscles.

Controlling symptoms and being on the right medications for you, is an important part of treating heart failure.