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What is heart failure?

The heart is a muscle. It squeezes and relaxes with each heartbeat to pump blood around the body.

With heart failure, the muscle becomes too weak or too stiff to work properly. Heart failure can be caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure, or lifestyle factors. It means the heart can't contract with enough force, or fill with enough blood. As a result, less blood is pumped around the body.

This can lead to problems in other parts of the body as the organs and muscles don't receive enough oxygen and nutrients.

Cause of heart failure

Heart failure can have many causes. For example, the heart muscle can be damaged by:

  • a heart attack
  • high blood pressure
  • lifestyle factors

The good news is that once diagnosed, making positive lifestyle changes can help those with heart failure better manage their condition.

Life after a diagnosis: Mary-Ann

Mary-Ann is a retired nurse. She is also one of the 60 million people worldwide to be impacted by heart failure. Watch as she tells us more about her experience.

If you have heart failure, or care for someone who does, Keep It Pumping is here for you. Learn more about living with heart failure on our website or join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

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