In the UK, there are around 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease, so it is fairly common. Regardless of this number, however, there are plenty of misconceptions and myths surrounding heart failure and related heart conditions. In fact, the truth might surprise you. Keep reading for some information on some of the most common heart failure misconceptions.

Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working

The use of ‘failure’ can be misleading, and while it may suggest that the heart has failed or stopped completely this is not necessarily the case. 

Heart failure sometimes known as congestive heart failure or CHF — occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood around the body as well as it should be. Heart failure is a chronic and progressive condition so it will worsen over time. So in answer to the question can congestive heart failure kill you, the short answer is yes but in reality, there is much more to it.

Can fluid around the heart kill you?

When dealing with congestive heart failure issues, the muscles around the heart are weakened, so the pumping power is lower than would be typically expected. Over time, this leads to a fluid build-up around the heart which then can lead to inefficient pumping. The longer these congestive heart issues go untreated, the more likely you are to develop serious health problems.

Can heart failure be controlled?

A number of treatments and medications have been developed to help control heart failure, its after-effects, and its symptoms.

Some of the most common treatments are an exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation program, medication to relax the blood vessels, beta-blockers, or even surgery.

Surgery can involve implanting a  pace regulating device such as a pacemaker or in some cases, heart bypass surgery. 

You can live normally with heart failure

The treatments listed above can help you live with heart failure, and in many cases, people return to their normal lives with only minor changes to accommodate their illness. 

Lifestyle and behavioural changes may be required to reduce strain on the heart, however, most people can continue with activities of daily living. 

Simple accommodations such as a healthier diet and regular, gentle exercise can help with managing symptoms and returning to normal life. 

You can develop heart failure without having a heart attack 

One of the main misconceptions about heart failure is that it is a result of having a heart attack. While this can be true in some cases, this is not causal.

Experiencing a heart attack may make you more susceptible to heart failure, however, it is still possible to develop heart failure without having had a  heart attack first. 

The most common causes of heart failure are high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart problems, and arrhythmia, just to name a few. 

Heart Failure is often linked to other comorbidities, increasing overall health risks. For example, did you know that people with a family history of coronary heart disease are much more likely to develop vascular dementia?

Signs of heart failure can be very subtle

Some of the key signs of heart failure are overlooked because of widespread misconceptions. The symptoms leading up to heart failure may seem surprisingly subtle.

Key symptoms are: 

  • Increasing trouble breathing while lying down or resting
  • Shortness of breath during everyday activities
  • Swollen ankles or feet  
  • Unprecedented weight gain in ankles, legs, stomach or feet.
  • General tiredness or fatigue 

According to the NHS, those that experience Heart Failure can greatly benefit from care services, especially if they are particularly frail or vulnerable following their injury. 

At Care 24/7 we offer Post-Operative & Convalescent Care to help aid recovery after an operation or serious injury. While everyone hopes that they will recover easily and quickly, home support is often vital to achieving that easy recovery.

Let us help you choose the right care for your loved one. Get in touch today with us today for expert advice and a free, no-obligation, care assessment service.