Heart failure , also known as heart failure, is a serious and dangerous disease. It can occur suddenly, for example during a heart attack, or it can develop gradually over a long period of time.
In the case of gradual heart failure, the symptoms are initially rather unspectacular and therefore often go unnoticed for a long time. Some symptoms at a glance.
Heart failure: These symptoms can occur
Heart failure can manifest itself in different ways. The most common signs are:
- Decreased performance and exhaustion
- Fluid retention, for example in the lower legs (swollen legs, ankle edema)
- Weight gain (due to water retention)
- Shortness of breath and shortness of breath
The symptoms of heart failure are sometimes rather diffuse and therefore cannot always be attributed to the heart for the mostly older patients.
“This poses the risk that older people will attribute their symptoms to age and accept them instead of going to the doctor. With fatal consequences, including serious complications and loss of quality of life or even death,” warns Thomas Voigtländer, Professor of Cardiology and Chairman of the Board German Heart Foundation.
Causes of heart failure
Chronic heart failure is usually the result of other heart diseases. In around 70 percent of cases, it develops from coronary heart disease (CHD), the underlying disease of the heart attack and high blood pressure – alone or together with diabetes. But valve diseases, myocarditis or congenital heart defects are also possible causes.
“Anyone who has heart disease and is aware of this connection can avoid sliding into heart failure through their therapeutic behavior,” says Voigtländer.
Heart failure – a widespread disease?
In Germany , up to four million people suffer from chronic heart failure. Because of the pumping weakness, the body no longer receives an adequate supply of blood. This means that it also lacks oxygen and nutrients. The symptoms typical of the disease occur.
“Anyone who suffers from shortness of breath and a decrease in performance should go to the doctor immediately. The earlier heart failure is recognized, the sooner you can counteract it with today’s therapies,” advises Voigtländer.
Advice on heart failure
Millions of people in Germany are affected by cardiovascular diseases. For patients with heart failure and their relatives, the German Heart Foundation offers the free guide “The Weak Heart,” which provides information about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of heart failure and its prevention.