What is Heart Failure?

It has been estimated that around 400,000 Canadians suffer from heart failure.Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged. There are many ways the heart muscle can become damaged, some common reasons are:

  • Heart Disease
  • Suffered a previous heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Born with a heart defect
  • Infection
  • Lung Disease
  • The above conditions can cause your heart chambers to become weakened and enlarged- called “dilated” “heart damage. They can also cause your heart muscle to become thicker- called “hypertrophic”“ heart damage.

    When the heart’s muscle become enlarged (dilated), less blood is pumped out with each heart beat. A bit like an old, over-stretched elastic band. Less blood is also pumped if your heart muscle becomes thicker (hypertrophic). This happens because there is less space in the heart chamber for blood.

    Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to our body tissues. Therefore, when less blood is pumped out, less nutrients and oxygen get delivered to our body tissues.

    Doctor’s will often measure how much blood is pumped out of the heart to determine how well the chambers are working. This is called the ejection fraction.

    A normal ejection fraction is between 55 and 70 percent.

    To help better understand heart failure, let’s take a closer look at how the heart works.