eart failure may not be what you think
it is. Many believe it is a heart attack.
Or that a heart is about to stop — as in,
fail to beat anymore. Neither is accurate.
“Heart failure is any circumstance
where the heart is not working properly,
and as a consequence, the person
does less well,” said Clyde W. Yancy,
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
In Big Heart Problem, we talked about heart failure
Yancy said, “but how well it relaxes.”
This type of HF can occur as a result of a person getting
older and the heart muscle gets stiff. It may occur because
of high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation or coronary artery
disease. Other medical conditions such as chronic kidney
disease, diabetes, sleep apnea or obstructive lung disease
can also result in HF with the heart muscle intact. “About 90
percent of everyone who has heart failure with an intact heart
muscle has one or more of those other conditions,” Yancy
said. “To give a sense of scale, about half of the people who
have heart failure right now have heart failure with an intact
heart muscle, and we have reason to believe that that number
has actually increased.” As for outcomes, both types of HF
result in about equal hospitalization rates and death rates.