Heart failure is a serious debilitating condition with a major personal and public health impact. Heart failure affects more than 60 million people worldwide, posing substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic burden. Heart failure is also the number 1 reason for hospitalization in patients over 65 years old.
Living with the condition means that the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs is declining. As a result, daily life can become a struggle and simple activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying shopping, can become very difficult. Risk factors can include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, a past myocardial infarction, and coronary artery disease.
Despite advances in therapy and prevention efforts, heart failure remains as malignant as some common cancers. Annually, about 30% of patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure will experience worsening of the disease, which is marked by progressive symptoms and/or a recent heart failure event.
Symptoms are often non-specific and do not help discriminate between heart failure and other medical conditions. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram, a chest X-ray, an echocardiogram, an MRI scan, and lung function tests. Reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure may help prevent heart failure.