4 common myths related to heart failure • illuminaija

4 common myths related to heart failure

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death globally. It is actually referred to as a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels.
4 common myths related to heart failure

Abnormal heart rhythms, marfan syndrome, congenital heart disease, heart attack and heart failure are some of the conditions that come under this category.

Most people often get confused about these cardiovascular conditions and consider them to be one and the same thing.

However, each one of them is different and have different symptoms and prevention methods.

To make it easier for you to differentiate these conditions, here we have tried to bust some myths related to heart failure.

​1. Myth: Heart failure is the same as a heart attack
Fact: While heart failure and heart attacks, both fall under the category of cardiovascular diseases, they vary immensely. A heart attack refers to a sudden blockage of blood flow to your heart. On the other hand, heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition wherein the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.

However, a heart attack can cause heart failure, alongside various other heart failure  risk factors, including other heart diseases, hypertension, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, obesity or unhealthy lifestyle patterns.

2. Myth: Heart failure has no warning signs
Fact: There are several symptoms associated with heart failure that one should be aware of, in addition to identifying risk factors, such as family history and comorbid conditions, that can predispose you to increased risk of heart failure.

The most typical signs include breathlessness or dyspnea, fatigue, tiredness, increased time taken to recover after an exercise, and ankle swelling. Slightly less typical symptoms include wheezing, nocturnal cough, bloating feeling, confusion, palpitations, depression, dizziness, an irregular pulse, loss of appetite and a temporary loss of consciousness (syncope).

3. Myth: Heart failure only affects the elderly, not the younger population
Fact: Although heart failure is more commonly prevalent among the elderly, the younger population can also develop heart failure. Moreover, research suggests that Indians are affected by cardiovascular diseases nearly a decade earlier than their western counterparts.

Younger heart failure patients (18-55 years of age) typically have a higher occurrence of comorbidities, such as obesity, in addition to myocarditis, congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy, which increases the risk of early heart failure. Thus, their condition would be managed differently, addressing these risk factors and alleviating symptoms to improve their quality of life.

4. ​Myth: Heart failure is the ‘end of the road’ and cannot be managed
Fact: Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working and is definitely not the ‘end of the road’. Although there is no definite cure, it can be treated, and symptoms can often be managed effectively.

By effectively managing the disease, including alleviating or stabilizing symptoms, patients can still benefit from treatment to living an improved quality of life. Disease management is typically through a holistic treatment plan, comprising medication or surgical procedures and lifestyle changes, which can include exercise and dietary modifications. Adhering to treatment and lifestyle changes is key to manage your condition effectively.

Now that these myths have been addressed, you can be better prepared to track your heart health! If you or a loved one is experiencing any heart failure symptoms — consult a doctor immediately.

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