Heart failure is a common, costly, and potentially fatal condition. In 2015 it affected about 40 million people globally. Overall around 2% of adults have heart failure and in those over the age of 65, this increases to 610%. Rates are predicted to increase.
Heart failure (HF), often referred to as congestive heart failure (CHF), is when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body's needs. Signs and symptoms commonly include shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, and leg swelling.
The shortness of breath is usually worse with exercise, while lying down, and may wake the person at night. A limited ability to exercise is also a common feature. Chest pain, including angina, does not typically occur due to heart failure.
Common causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease including a previous myocardial infarction (heart attack), high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, excess alcohol use, infection, and cardiomyopathy of an unknown cause. These cause heart failure by changing either the structure or the functioning of the heart.
There are two main types of heart failure: heart failure due to left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure with normal ejection fraction depending on whether the ability of the left ventricle to contract is affected, or the heart's ability to relax. The severity of disease is usually graded by the degree of problems with exercise.
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