Of the high number of celebrity deaths in 2016, many have been reported to be of “Heart Failure,” however heart failure has become a colloquial term for any kind of heart related issue leading to hospitalization and death. In reality, heart related deaths could be from other heart maladies such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, or sudden cardiac arrest. This is not to say that heart failure is “rare” by any stretch of the term, but it is not nearly as prevalent as has been reflected in the media especially in 2016.
- Heart failure usually manifests as tiredness and weakness, breathlessness and swelling of the legs and abdomen.
- The most important causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease (which causes a heart attack) and high blood pressure, but it can also be the result of damage to the heart muscle itself (cardiomyopathy), problems with the valves (such as “aortic stenosis”) or when the heart’s rhythm is disturbed and it beats too fast, too slow or irregularly (“atrial fibrillation”).
- A “heart attack” occurs when one of the arteries in the heart suddenly blocks, depriving the heart muscle of oxygen.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the other organs to satisfy their need for oxygen and nutrients.