There is no denying that there are lots of myths and rumours surrounding heart failure. Learning to tell fact from fiction will help anyone that is currently trying to understand what heart failure actually is. Common confusion surrounding this condition is usually in relation to symptoms and signs of heart failure, different types of heart failure treatment and heart failure life expectancy.
To help anyone that is trying to get to the bottom of the most frequently heard rumours regarding heart failure, Pumping Marvellous has set the record straight. Below are the statements that they regularly hear from patients or their family and friends that simply aren’t true.
Heart failure is the same as a heart attack
To put it simply, a heart attack and heart failure are two different things. A heart attack occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, this is where the blood supply to your heart is cut off. Whereas, heart failure is a long-term condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
Heart failure means your heart has stopped beating
Again, heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to pump blood around your body as well as it should. You can have heart failure on just one side of your heart or sometimes on both sides. Your heart is still pumping, just not as strong as it should be.
If you have heart failure you shouldn’t exercise
Whilst this will depend on the severity of the disease, generally speaking, people with heart failure should try to stay active just like everyone else. After all, regular movement is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor to find out how to ease into a good exercise plan for you.
Only older people get heart failure
Although heart failure is much more common for elderly people, young and middle-aged people can, in fact, develop heart failure too. It impacts all generations.
You can’t prevent heart failure
In fact, heart failure has two different types of risk factors – those you can’t control and those that you can. While you may not be able to change some factors such as your age, gender or genes, you can actually reduce your risk of heart disease and heart failure in many other ways.
There are no warning signs for heart failure
It is so important to know that this isn’t true. There are lots of symptoms and signs of heart failure you can look out for. Alone, some symptoms may not seem like a big deal but, when you have more than one, it can signal something serious. You should always keep track of your symptoms and tell your doctor about any changes. The most common symptoms include breathlessness, fluid build around your feet ankles and legs and severe fatigue.
Heart failure is a normal consequence of getting old
This condition isn’t a consequence of age. It’s a cardiovascular condition that can often be prevented, you can control some things that can lead to heart failure. Yes, there are some you can’t control like your medical history, but you can change some habits that may lead to heart failure.
Separating fact from fiction when you have just been diagnosed with heart failure or when you’re supporting someone through this time is so important. If you’re ever unsure as to whether the information you have been provided with or that you’ve found online is correct, speak to your doctor, seek guidance from a specialist or turn to a charity.
Pumping Marvellous is a UK patient-led heart failure charity. They are here to support anyone living with heart failure together with their family and friends. From recognising the early symptoms, self-interventions and steps that can be taken to alleviate common symptoms to treatment and post-diagnosis advice and care, they will be here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you require their assistance.