Nearly 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure, and 400,000 to 700,000 people find out that they have heart failure each year. In fact, it is the number one reason that people over the age of 65 have to go to the hospital.
What is heart failure?
Though many people think that heart failure means the heart is no longer working at all, this is not true. Heart failure is a term that means a person’s heart is not working as well as it should be. It means that the heart has become weaker, and cannot give the rest of the body enough blood. Heart failure is a progressive disease, which means it starts slowly and gets worse over time.
Who is at risk of heart failure?
- Have high blood pressure
- Have had a heart attack
- Are living with diabetes
- Are overweight
- Abuse drugs or alcohol
- Have an enlarged (bigger than normal) heart, or a family history of an enlarged heart
- Have a history of heart disease or other heart defects
What are the signs and symptoms of heart failure?
These are the signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Shortness of breath (feeling like you can’t breathe)
- Coughing or wheezing, especially after exercising or while lying down
- Coughing up white or pink mucus with blood in it
- Feeling tired all the time
- Becoming weak or tired after everyday activities, such as climbing the stairs or walking
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling sick to your stomach, or not hungry
- Confusion, memory loss, or feeling disoriented
- Weight gain or swelling, caused by extra fluid in the body
- Fast heart beat
Why was heart failure chosen for the CONNECT-HF trial?
Even though many people are affected by heart failure, it is often mistaken for other conditions, causing some patients to get an incorrect diagnosis.
Even in clinical research, heart failure doesn’t get as much attention as other conditions. For example, heart failure has received $28.7 million in research dollars for the 5.7 million Americans who are diagnosed with it. Lung cancer research, which affects 390,000 Americans, has received $132 million.
Can heart failure get better?
Heart failure is usually a progressive disease, which means it starts slowly and gets worse over time, though there are many things that people with heart failure can do to improve their health and help slow the worsening of the disease. With an early diagnosis, the right medications, and healthy lifestyle changes , many patients with heart failure can get back to the everyday activities that matter the most to them.
How does CONNECT-HF hope to help people with heart failure?
Because the right plan for care can help slow the worsening of heart failure, CONNECT-HF researchers want to understand what works best for patients. The information learned from CONNECT-HF will be used to help improve care for patients with heart failure, to help them live healthier lives and stay out of the hospital.
CONNECT-HF will also help support participants throughout the trial, by providing useful ideas and resources for managing their care, such as tracking medication use, tips for lifestyle changes, and more.
1. What is heart failure? American Heart Association. Accessed March 1, 2017.