Heart failure can develop at any age but becomes more common with increasing age. Less than 1% of people under 65 years of age have heart failure, but this can increase to more than 5% in people over the age of 75 years.
Some heart failure patients who have been doing well may worsen and develop more symptoms. This worsening can be triggered by infection, poor kidney function, lack of blood (anemia) or abnormal heart rhythm. Treating these triggers can result in the heart failure getting better.
If there is suspicion of Heart Failure from the symptoms and physical examination, additional tests may be helpful. These include ECG, blood tests, chest X-ray and echocardiogram. These tests may not need be repeated for subsequent visits. Other specialized tests may be useful to find out more about HF or its cause.
Heart failure affects patients differently. Some patients
have heart failure affecting mainly the left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart to the body). This leads to breathlessness as blood from the lungs which normally enters the left ventricle builds up in the lungs. Some patients have heart failure affecting mainly the right ventricle.
Heart failure is a chronic condition that tend to gradually worsen with time. It can shorten a patient’s life. In many cases, it remains stable for some time (months to years) if patients are taking treatment properly. Careful treatment and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms and prolong life.