Heart failure (also known as congestive heart failure) happens when the heart becomes weak or stiff, thus losing its ability to pump enough blood. This causes a build-up of fluid in the tissues (an oedema), leaving the organs and tissues with insufficient oxygen and nutrients to function properly. With lifestyle modifications and medications, the heart can pump blood better.
1) Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF)This occurs when the left ventricle does not contract effectively and less blood is pumped out to the body compared to a normal functioning heart. In HFrEF (also known as systolic heart failure), the pump function of the heart is weakened and the organs do not receive enough oxygen. Patients usually have a left ventricle ejection fraction of less than 40% and this could be due to other factors, including coronary artery disease, infections, medications and hereditary conditions.2) Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) This occurs when the heart muscle contracts normally, however, the left ventricle is not able to relax and properly fill with blood during ventricular filling, resulting in ineffective pumping of blood around the body.In HFpEF (also known as diastolic heart failure), the systolic heart function is normal (left ventricle ejection fraction of 50% and above), however the heart muscle is stiff. Consequently, there is ineffective filling up and pumping of blood around the body. Stiffness of the heart muscle can occur due to a variety of reasons such as ageing, long-standing high blood pressure or obesity.
Heart failure is highly preventable and many of its common causes can be avoided with simple lifestyle modifications. Adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent and control risk factors of coronary artery disease (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, smoking and obesity), which is the most common cause for heart failure.
Learn more on our Heart Failure Programme here.
Living with Heart Failure
心脏衰竭患者 / Living with Heart Failure (Chinese version)
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