My Marvellous Guide to walking a day in my shoes

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation would like to again thank our Patient Educators who not only suggested this marvellous guide, but also shared their journey of being diagnosed with heart failure and the challenges that they face.

Relationships with family and friends can be frustrating and even damaging as a result of not being able to fully understand the challenges of living with heart failure. This guide, therefore, seeks to explain what living with heart failure is like for the patient, seen through their eyes, in their shoes.

People with heart failure tell us they experience a variety of symptoms, problems and issues whilst living with heart failure. These can take the form of a physical or psychological nature. Not every patient with heart failure feels all of these and some may experience them constantly or occasionally. However, if you know someone with heart failure, then reading on may give you an invaluable insight into what it’s like living with heart failure, from diagnosis to living each day.

What is heart failure?

The heart consists of muscles that pump blood around the body. With heart failure, the heart is not pumping correctly and is often enlarged because it is having to work extra hard.

Generally there is a reason why the heart is not pumping correctly. The vast majority of the time this is due to the heart muscle being damaged because it is getting a poor blood supply. This can happen after a heart attack, or when someone’s had high blood pressure, which has affected the heart.

Other causes include:

  • A virus has affected the efficiency of the heart
  • The heart’s rhythm isn’t normal
  • Genetically, the heart is not structured as well as it should be
  • The valves in the heart are damaged
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Recreational drugs
  • Some chemotherapy medication

In rarer cases, there is a form of heart failure associated with pregnancy Sometimes, we just don’t know what the cause is. This is called idiopathic.

Read the full guide

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