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Heart failure

2-minute read

Heart failure is a serious condition where the heart has difficulty pumping enough blood around the body.

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak or too stiff to pump blood through the body as effectively as normal.

Breathlessness or shortness of breath, loss of appetite, feeling very tired, weight gain and swollen legs, ankles, belly or feet, tiredness, dizziness and coughing are the main symptoms of heart failure.

Sometimes the symptoms of heart failure can develop quickly (acute heart failure). However, they usually develop gradually, over time (chronic heart failure).

Heart failure does not usually have a single cause. There are a number of health conditions that increase your risks of developing heart failure including:

Sometimes an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can also lead to heart failure.

In most cases, heart failure is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured.

Personal story: heart failure

Being diagnosed with heart failure can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you, your loved ones or when preparing questions for your doctor or a specialist.

Watch this video about a patient's experience after being diagnosed with heart failure.


Read the related video transcript >

More information about this video >

Video Copyright: ©2013 University of Oxford. Used under licence from DIPEx. All rights reserved.

Last reviewed: July 2018

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Top results

Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood through the body as effectively as normal

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Heart failure overview - myDr.com.au

Heart failure is when your heart can't effectively pump blood around your body, but it doesn’t mean your heart is about to stop or fail completely - you can live with heart failure.

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Heart failure (heart disease) information | myVMC

Heart failure refers to inadequate blood circulation resulting from a defect which reduces the heart's pumping. It is typically caused by heart disease.

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Heart failure (heart disease) information | myVMC

Chronic heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump sufficient blood through the body. It may come on rapidly after a heart attack, or slowly.

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Heart failure is a serious condition. Learn the symptoms of heart disease, what happens after diagnosis and how to manage the problems it causes.

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Congestive heart failure is present when the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of the body.

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Congestive heart failure (CHF) or cardiac failure (CCF) occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood quickly enough.

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Congestive heart failure is a heart disease or cardiovascular disease characterised by the heart being unable to pump enough blood around the body.

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Relaxin is a reproductive peptide hormone that relaxes tissues, including the heart. Relaxin levels increase in heart failure.

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Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are medications used to treat heart and kidney conditions like hypertension, heart failure and heart attack.

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