Can You Live 20 Years With Heart Failure? (2023)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood out to the body. Despite advances in treatment, the outlook for people with CHF is generally poor. The survival rate of a person with CHF depends on how the well the heart functions, their age and CHF stage, whether they have other diseases, and more.

A number of heart-related health conditions can contribute to CHF. They include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, or a previous heart attack.

This article explains the factors that may affect outcomes for people who are living with CHF. It talks about steps you can take to reduce some of the risk factors that can lead to poor outcomes.

Can You Live 20 Years With Heart Failure? (1)

Overall Survival

CHF is a chronic and progressive condition. It weakens the heart, which then is unable to pump enough blood. It limits the heart's ability to deliver the oxygen and nutrients needed for the cells in your body to function.

There are two main types of heart failure. The first is heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, also known as systolic heart failure. In this case, the heart muscle itself is weak and cannot adequately pump blood to the rest of the body.

The second main type is called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, or diastolic heart failure. Here, the heart muscle is stiff rather than weak. This makes it hard for the heart to fill with blood.

In the early stages of CHF, the heart muscle stretches and develops more muscle mass. These changes allow it to contract (squeeze) with more force to pump more blood. But over time, the heart enlarges. It can no longer manage its workload. This will lead to symptoms that include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Swelling (edema) in the legs

CHF is broken down into four stages. They range from an initial high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure.As the symptoms get worse, so does the stage of CHF.

Congestive Heart Failure vs. Heart Failure: Is There a Difference?

The prognosis for CHF is based on five-year mortality (death) rates. This measure is used to estimate short- and long-term survival rates from the time that your CHF is diagnosed and treatment begins.

Some 6.2 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with heart failure. In 2018, heart failure led to 379,800 deaths. It is widespread in some U.S. regions, primarily the South and Midwest. The five-year survival rate is about 50% for all stages.

A review published in 2017 looked at people with CHF. It included people who were treated in the community and those seen by a healthcare provider as outpatients. The study found the average CHF survival rates were:

  • 80-90% after one year, compared to 97% in the general population
  • 50-60% by the fifth year, compared to 85% in the general population
  • 30% by year 10, compared to 75% in the general population


Congestive heart failure is a condition that can make the heart too weak or too stiff to pump blood properly. This means the rest of the body does not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Ejection fraction is a measure of this pumping force in the left ventricle of the heart. If it is preserved, then the type of CHF is called diastolic heart failure. If it is reduced, this is known as systolic heart failure.

Prognosis by Stage

Prognosis depends on the stage and cause of CHF, as well as a person’s age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Stages of CHF range from A to D.

  • Stage A: High risk for heart failure, but without symptoms or structural heart disease
  • Stage B: Structural heart disease, but without signs or symptoms of heart failure (also known as pre-heart failure)
  • StageC: Structural heart disease with prior or current symptoms of heart failure
  • Stage D: Advanced heart failure characterized by recurrent hospitalizations despite attempts to optimize treatment

The table below shows five-year mortality data for each of the four stages of CHF.

Five-Year Survival Rates
Stage5-Year Survival Rate
Stage A97%
Stage B95.7%
Stage C74.6%
Stage D20%

How Heart Failure Is Diagnosed

Heart Failure Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide

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Can You Live 20 Years With Heart Failure? (2)

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Factors Affecting Survival

Some factors that may affect a person’s survival rate include age, sex, exercise tolerance, and other medical conditions.


Heart failure typically affects older adults (middle-age and older). Among Medicare patients, it is the leading cause for hospitalization. Complications of CHF also rise steadily with age.

One clinical trial looked at hospitalization rates for different age groups, from age 20 through age 65 and older. It found the death rates were lower for patients in the 20-44 age group. They were less likely to be admitted to the emergency room or hospitalized for heart failure or other cardiac issues.

However, death rates were still significant for people younger than 44 after 30 days (3.9%), one year (12.4%), and five years (27.7%). The study found that serious CHF episodes were more frequent in half of the people who were readmitted to the hospital. Two-thirds of them went to emergency rooms, and more than 10% died within a year.


Women with CHF tend to live longer than men when the cause isn’t ischemia, an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscles. In fact, women with this type of heart failure have a better chance of surviving than men, either with or without heart disease as their main cause of heart failure.

Other health issues that affect survival in women with heart failure, especially after menopause, include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease

Once coronary heart disease has been diagnosed, the risk of CHF increases.

Overview of the Four Heart Valves

Exercise Tolerance

CHF symptoms include labored breathing and fatigue. Low exercise tolerance alsois a key symptom in CHF. It is associated with poor quality of life and an increased mortality rate.

Exercise intolerance means there is a reduced and limited amount of oxygen that a person can use during an intense workout. It also means that you have a limited ability to carry out any physical activity.The capacity of your heart and lungs are key contributors.

Other factors, such as anemia, obesity, and any muscle or bone disorders, also play a role in your overall exercise tolerance.

The three-year survival rate for people living with CHF who have a reduced exercise tolerance is 57%. This compares with 93% in those with normal exercise tolerance.

Ejection Fraction

The heart has four chambers: the right atrium and ventricle, and the left atrium and ventricle. The left ventricle forces blood out into the body. Ejection fraction measures the percentage of blood that is pumped out by the left ventricle each time the heart contracts.

The quality of this function is used to classify different types of heart failure. If the ejection fraction is normal, this is called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.If the ejection fraction is diminished, this is called heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

  • Preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), or diastolic heart failure: The heart contracts normally but the ventricles do not relax as the ventricle fills with blood.
  • Reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), or systolic heart failure: The heart does not contract properly. This leads to less oxygen-rich blood being pumped out to the body.

Normal ejection fraction rates range between 50% and 70%.Function is considered borderline when it falls between 41% and 49%. This doesn’t always mean that a person is developing heart failure, but it may be a sign of heart damage or a prior heart attack. An ejection fraction rate of 40% or lower may indicate heart failure or cardiomyopathy.

Death rates for people with diastolic heart failure are lower compared to people who have systolic heart failure. One study, with a mean follow-up of 37 months, showed the mortality rate increased in proportion to any decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). The results were:

  • LVEF under 15%: mortality - 51%
  • LVEF 16-25%: mortality - 41.7%
  • LVEF 26-35% : mortality - 31.4%
  • LVEF 35-45%: mortality - 25.6%

Systolic vs. Diastolic Heart Failure


Type 2 diabetes is a factor that increases the risk of poor outcomes in people with CHF. About 20% to 40% of heart failure patients have diabetes. At least 10% of high-risk heart patients may have diabetes that has gone undetected and not been diagnosed.

(Video) Heart Failure Survival Rates

A study of 400 people looked at the number of diabetes and acute heart failure cases among them. The group of 203 men and 197 women had an average age of 71 years. Among them were 37% who had known diabetes, 16% with undiagnosed diabetes, and 47% who did not have it.

The people with diabetes were more likely to havecertain other health issues, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Previous heart attack

People in the group with undiagnosed diabetes were similar to those without diabetes, in terms of these related health conditions. However, people with diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes had more hospital stays due to acute heart failure in the prior year. This was true even with no differences in their left ventricular ejection fractions. Yet the incidence of heart failure with systolic dysfunction (an ejection fraction of less than 40%) was similar in all three groups.

Patients with undiagnosed diabetes were 1.69 times more likely to die than those without diabetes. Patients with undiagnosed diabetes showed fewer heart-related risks than the people with diabetes, but the death rates were similar between the two groups.

Could You Have Undiagnosed Diabetes?


Heart failure relapses that require hospitalization often point to poor outcomes. The symptoms associated with these episodes also suggest that failure is progressing. The 30 days after a first hospitalization are seen as a high-risk period. Intense follow-up and monitoring are needed.


Many factors affect the survival of CHF patients. Your age, sex, and even your physical ability to exercise all contribute to your possible outcomes. The type and stage of your CHF also matter. So do the heart-related and other health conditions you may have along with CHF. One of the most significant risk factors is diabetes. For this reason, people with both diabetes and heart failure often are treated by heart specialists.

What You Can Do

Some risk factors of heart failure, like age, can’t be modified. Still, people with CHF can take steps to improve the long-term prognosis. The first thing to do is to be familiar with any family history of heart disease. You'll also want to learn about all the possible symptoms. Don't ignore any symptom that you think is cause for concern. Tell your healthcare provider about them right away.

Regular exercise, along with managing any other health issues you may have, can also help to keep CHF under control.


If you are diagnosed with heart disease, then weight loss alone does not lower your mortality risk. Yet ongoing and sustained physical activity is associated with some risk reduction.

Another study looked at patients with diabetes who were hospitalized for heart failure. Of those patients, 65% were overweight or obese and 3% were underweight. People who were diabetic and underweight had a 50% chance of dying within five years.

The odds of dying were lower by 20% to 40% for those with obesity than for patients at normal weights. This finding may seem odd, but it can be explained by the age of the obese patients. They were younger than people in the other weight groups in this study.

A 2018 study published in the Current Obesity Reports suggests that a sustained weight loss of more than 5% of total body weight will lead to better control over blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart-related factors.Healthy lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, can help. So can medication or surgery to manage weight. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you begin any sort of weight-loss program.

Diabetes Control

Diabetes has been linked to the risk of heart failure. Among people with diabetes, 25% have chronic heart failure and up to 40% have acute heart failure. For this reason, people with both diabetes and heart failure are treated by cardiologists (heart specialists). To reduce the risk of death, good blood sugar control is key.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (or ACE) inhibitors are often used to help treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes with heart failure. ACE inhibitors offer a number of benefits, and are linked with a lower death rate and fewer hospitalizations. Angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs, have shown similar benefits in heart failure patients with and without diabetes.

How ACE Inhibitors Treat Heart Failure


In heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, a few drugs have been shown to reduce deaths and hospitalizations. Healthcare providers may prescribe the following medications in some combination:

  • Beta-blockers (carvedilol, metoprolol succinate, or bisoprolol)
  • Entresto (sacubitril with valsartan)
  • An ARB or ACE inhibitor
  • Spironolactone
  • Sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors
  • Ivabradine

In heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, no medications have been shown to improve mortality except diuretics. There is some evidence that spironolactone may also offer a benefit.

Heart failure prognosis has improved due to new drug therapies. Still, how effective these drugs are can change over time. Tell your cardiologist about any new symptoms, or those that get worse. They can evaluate you for possible changes in your treatment.

(Video) Heart Failure at 26 Years Old


The left ventricle is the chamber of the heart that forces blood out into the body. When it no longer works properly, the amount of blood it forces out into the body is not adequate for its needs.

This can happen because the heart muscle is too weak, causing what's called a reduced ejection fraction. It also can happen due to the muscle becoming stiff and unable to relax, as is the case with preserved ejection fraction.

These fractions are used to measure how well your heart is working. Along with other factors, such as age or additional health problems, they contribute to an assessment of how serious or advanced your CHF has become. This helps healthcare providers to offer you the most accurate estimates possible when it comes to your disease progression and your life expectancy.

A Word From Verywell

The prognosis for CHF may seem discouraging, but there are lifestyle changes and medications that can help. They can slow down CHF progression and boost your chances of survival. You can be proactive by monitoring your symptoms and putting unhealthy habits aside. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help.

Congestive Heart Failure Pathophysiology

15 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Ammar KA, Jacobsen SJ, Mahoney DW, et al.Prevalence and prognostic significance of heart failure stages: Application of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association heart failure staging criteria in the community.Circulation. 2007;115(12):1563-1570. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.666818

  2. American Heart Association.Types of heart failure.

  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine.Heart failure.

  4. Heidenreich P, Bozkurt B, Aguilar D, et al. 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA guideline for the management of heart failure.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022;79(17):e263–e421. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2021.12.012

  5. Jones NR, Hobbs FR, Taylor CJ. Prognosis following a diagnosis of heart failure and the role of primary care: A review of the literature.BJGP Open. 2017;1(3). doi:10.3399/bjgpopen17X101013

  6. American Heart Association. 2021 heart disease and stroke statistics update fact sheet.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Heart failure.

  8. Wong CM, Hawkins NM, Ezekowitz JA, et al. Heart failure in young adults is associated with high mortality: A contemporary population-level analysis.Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2017;33(11):1472-1477. doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2017.05.009

  9. Taylor CJ, Ordóñez‐Mena JM, Jones NR, et al. National trends in heart failure mortality in men and women,United Kingdom, 2000–2017.Eur J Heart Fail. 2021;23(1):3-12. doi:10.1002/ejhf.1996

    (Video) How long can a person live with congestive heart failure ? | Frequent Health FAQS

  10. Morris JH, Chen L. Exercise training and heart failure: A review of the literature.Card Fail Rev. 2019;5(1):57-61. doi:10.15420/cfr.2018.31.1

  11. Curtis JP, Sokol SI, Wang Y, et al. The association of left ventricular ejection fraction, mortality, and cause of death in stable outpatients with heart failure.Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2003;42(4):736-742. doi:10.1016/s0735-1097(03)00789-7

  12. Flores-Le Roux JA, Comin J, Pedro-Botet al.Seven-year mortality in heart failure patients with undiagnosed diabetes: An observational study.Cardiovasc Diabetol10,39 (2011). doi:10.1186/1475-2840-10-39

  13. Solomon SD, Zelenkofske S, McMurray JJV, et al. Sudden death in patients with myocardial infarction and left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, or both.N Engl J Med. 2005;352(25):2581-2588. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa043938

  14. Ryan DH, Yockey SR. Weight loss and improvement in comorbidity: Differences at 5%, 10%, 15%, and over.Curr Obes Rep. 2017;6(2):187-194. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0262-y

  15. Gazewood JD, Turner PL. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: Diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(9):582-588.

Can You Live 20 Years With Heart Failure? (3)

By Rebeca Schiller
Rebeca Schiller is a health and wellness writer with over a decade of experience covering topics including digestive health, pain management, and holistic nutrition.

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(Video) Living with Heart Failure - A Guide for Patients

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Can You Live 20 Years With Heart Failure? ›

In general, about half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive 5 years. About 30% will survive for 10 years. In patients who receive a heart transplant, about 21% of patients are alive 20 years later.

Can you live 30 years with congestive heart failure? ›

How long can you live with congestive heart failure? In general, more than half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive for 5 years. About 35% will survive for 10 years.

Can you live a long normal life with heart failure? ›

It is possible to lead a normal life, even if you have Heart Failure. Understanding and taking control of Heart Failure is the key to success. Your doctor and healthcare providers will provide guidelines and a treatment plan. It is your responsibility to follow the treatment plan and manage your Heart Failure.

What is the life expectancy of a person with heart failure by age? ›

Prognosis at different ages

A report averaging several smaller studies found that people under age 65 generally had a 5-year survival rate of 78.8 percent following CHF diagnosis. The same report found that people over age 75 had an average 5-year survival rate of 49.5 percent following diagnosis.

Can you live decades with heart failure? ›

Chronic heart failure is a long-term condition for which there's currently no cure. However, with medication, many people are able to maintain a reasonable quality of life.

What is the longest you can live with CHF? ›

The life expectancy for congestive heart failure depends on the cause of heart failure, its severity, and other underlying medical conditions. In general, about half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive 5 years. About 30% will survive for 10 years.

At what age do most people get congestive heart failure? ›

Congestive heart failure affects people of all ages, from children and young adults to the middle-aged and the elderly. Almost 1.4 million persons with CHF are under 60 years of age. CHF is present in 2 percent of persons age 40 to 59. More than 5 percent of persons age 60 to 69 have CHF.

How quickly does heart failure progress? ›

Symptoms can develop quickly (acute heart failure) or gradually over weeks or months (chronic heart failure).

Can heart failure go back to normal? ›

Although heart failure is a serious condition that progressively gets worse over time, certain cases can be reversed with treatment. Even when the heart muscle is impaired, there are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms and stop or slow the gradual worsening of the condition.

Is heart failure ever temporary? ›

Heart failure is a lifelong condition in which the heart muscle can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen.

What is the most common cause of death in heart failure patients? ›

Patients with congestive heart failure have a high incidence of sudden cardiac death that is attributed to ventricular arrhythmias.

What are the chances of living with heart failure? ›

Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were: 80% to 90% for one year. 50% to 60% for year five. 30% for 10 years.

What is Stage 2 heart failure? ›

Stage II: You don't have heart failure symptoms at rest, but some symptoms slightly limit your physical activity. Symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath. Stage III: Heart failure symptoms noticeably limit your physical activity (but you still are asymptomatic at rest).

What is the difference between heart failure and congestive heart failure? ›

Heart failure often refers to early-stage weakening of the heart without congestion. As the damage to the heart progresses, it causes fluid to build up in the feet, arms, lungs, and other organs, which is referred to as congestion, throughout the body. This stage of heart failure is called CHF.

What is the best exercise for heart failure? ›

Ms Eriksen recommends doing an aerobic activity (something where you're moving most of your body, which will increase your heart and breathing rate a little, such as moving to music or walking around) and resistance work, where you add light weights to build muscle strength.

Can heart failure be reversed with exercise? ›

Can heart failure improve with exercise? It's important to remember that exercise will not improve your ejection fraction (the percentage of blood your heart can push forward with each pump). However, it can help to improve the strength and efficiency of the rest of your body.

Can you fully recover from CHF? ›

So although there is no absolute cure for heart failure, medication and lifestyle changes can prevent the condition from worsening and in certain cases, return almost regular heart function.

Is congestive heart failure always terminal? ›

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a serious condition, but it doesn't have to be a death sentence. You may have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle going forward.

Is congestive heart failure considered a terminal illness? ›

Patients are considered to be in the terminal end stage of heart disease when they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Only a doctor can make a clinical determination of congestive heart failure life expectancy.

What is the new treatment for heart failure? ›

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Farxiga (dapagliflozin) oral tablets for adults with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure.

How can I make my weak heart stronger? ›

Seven Ways to Make Your Heart Stronger
  1. Eat a well-rounded, balanced diet. ...
  2. Don't sit for too long. ...
  3. Brush your teeth every day – and don't forget to floss. ...
  4. Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke. ...
  5. Snack smart throughout the day. ...
  6. Get plenty of sleep. ...
  7. Recognize and reduce stress in your life.

What are 2 signs or symptoms of heart failure? ›

You may have trouble breathing, an irregular heartbeat, swollen legs, neck veins that stick out, and sounds from fluid built up in your lungs. Your doctor will check for these and other signs of heart failure. A test called an echocardiogram is often the best test to diagnose your heart failure.

Can my heart failure get better? ›

For most people, heart failure is a long-term condition that can't be cured. But treatment can help keep the symptoms under control, possibly for many years. The main treatments are: healthy lifestyle changes.

When should I be worried about heart failure? ›

Call your health care provider right away if you have heart failure and: Your symptoms suddenly become worse. You develop a new symptom. You gain 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) or more within a few days.

How do you know if heart failure is progressing? ›

Fatigue and Activity Changes

The easiest way to know that heart failure is getting worse is you're able to do less and less. People start pacing themselves. They stop doing hobbies that involve any physical activity. They used to go fishing, but not anymore.

Can you get a new heart if you have heart failure? ›

A heart transplant may be considered if: you have significant heart failure, where the heart is having trouble pumping enough blood around the body (usually the result of coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy or congenital heart disease) you have severe symptoms, despite medical treatment.

How much weight do you gain with heart failure? ›

You may feel like your heart is racing or throbbing. Daily weight Many people are first alerted to worsening heart failure when they notice a weight gain of more than two or three pounds in a 24-hour period or more than five pounds in a week.

Does heart failure show on EKG? ›

A chest X-ray can be useful to identify evidence of heart failure or other lung pathology; however, a normal result does not rule out a diagnosis of heart failure. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is often abnormal in patients with heart failure, although up to 10% of patients may have a normal ECG.

Does heart failure always lead to death? ›

Although it can be a severe disease, heart failure is not a death sentence, and treatment is now better than ever. When this happens, blood and fluid may back up into the lungs (congestive heart failure), and some parts of the body don't get enough oxygen-rich blood to work normally.

Is heart failure a slow death? ›

Heart Failure: Quick Facts

About half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. 3. Most people with end-stage heart failure have a life expectancy of less than 1 year.

What is Stage 1 heart failure? ›

Stage I is considered “pre-heart failure.” High-risk individuals include patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and coronary artery disease. A family history of alcohol abuse, rheumatic fever, cardiotoxic drug therapy, or cardiomyopathy can increase your risk.

Who mostly gets heart failure? ›

Coronary artery disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure are the main causes and risk factors of heart failure. Other diseases that damage or weaken the heart muscle or heart valves can also cause heart failure. Heart failure is most common in people over age 65, African-Americans, and women.

What are two leading causes of heart failure? ›

The most common conditions that can lead to heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and previous heart attack. If you've been diagnosed with one of these conditions, it's critical that you manage it carefully to help prevent the onset of heart failure.

Who usually gets heart failure? ›

People 65 years or older have a higher risk of heart failure. Older adults are also more likely to have other health conditions that cause heart failure. Family history of heart failure makes your risk of heart failure higher. Genetics may also play a role.

What to expect when living with heart failure? ›

As the heart weakens, its pumping action also weakens. Blood and body fluids back up in the lungs, abdomen and/or feet and ankles. This excess fluid can make it difficult to breathe. You might also notice a feeling of fullness in the abdomen or swelling in the legs and ankles.

Does heart failure have a good prognosis? ›

The prognosis for chronic HF has improved, when compared with very early studies such as the Framingham Heart and Offspring Studies (1971), where 1-year survival was 60.5% and 5-year survival was 31.5%. However, more recently, there has been no change or very modest improvements in survival.

What level is considered heart failure? ›

An ejection fraction below 40 percent means your heart isn't pumping enough blood and may be failing. A low ejection fraction number can be an indicator of heart failure and may not have symptoms at first but can lead to a variety of symptoms, including: Shortness of breath. Fatigue.

How does heart failure feel? ›

Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat The heart may speed up to compensate for its failing ability to adequately pump blood throughout the body. Patients may feel a fluttering in the heart (palpitations) or a heartbeat that seems irregular or out of rhythm. This often is described as a pounding or racing sensation in the chest.

What stage of heart failure is coughing? ›

When the heart cannot keep up with the supply of blood moving between it and the lungs, fluid can build up in the lungs. This results in a chronic cough or wheezing that can produce white or pink mucus. As the heart's ability to pump slows down, fluid can build up in the body.

What are the signs that congestive heart failure is getting worse? ›

Signs of Worsening Heart Failure
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Weight gain of three or more pounds in one day.
  • Weight gain of five pounds in one week.
  • Unusual swelling in the legs, feet, hands, or abdomen.
  • A persistent cough or chest congestion (the cough may be dry or hacking)

Is heart failure genetic? ›

Heart failure (HF) is a clinical condition distinguished by structural and functional defects in the myocardium, which genetic and environmental factors can induce. HF is caused by various genetic factors that are both heterogeneous and complex.

What mimics congestive heart failure? ›

  • Pneumonia.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma.
  • Pulmonary embolism.
  • Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
Feb 7, 2022

What not to do if you have heart failure? ›

Avoid These Foods if You Have Heart Failure
  1. Alcohol. Heart failure prevents the heart from pumping as well as it used to. ...
  2. Salt. Consuming too much salt (sodium) can result in fluid retention in the healthiest of people. ...
  3. Highly Processed Grains. ...
  4. Processed Meats.
Aug 27, 2020

Should I rest with heart failure? ›

Keep as active as you can

However, for a patient with heart failure, the advice to “take it easy” is actually a catastrophe. The consequence of withdrawing from activity is that the rest of the body loses its resilience and ends up becoming as weak as the heart.

How do you beat heart failure naturally? ›

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, cutting down on salt, and exercising regularly, can improve your condition. Medications are also available to help your heart better pump blood. Complementary and alternative therapies can be helpful, too, when used along with standard medical treatment.

Can losing weight reverse heart failure? ›

Hemodynamic load and inflammation appear to mediate most of the adaptive cardiac changes in HFO. Thus, patients achieving over 20% weight reduction before age 60–70 years may see complete reversal of HF (12).

How long do people with congestive heart failure live? ›

In general, about half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive 5 years. About 30% will survive for 10 years. In patients who receive a heart transplant, about 21% of patients are alive 20 years later.

Does anyone recover from congestive heart failure? ›

Although heart failure is a serious condition that progressively gets worse over time, certain cases can be reversed with treatment. Even when the heart muscle is impaired, there are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms and stop or slow the gradual worsening of the condition.

Is congestive heart failure always progressive? ›

With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse. More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. It's the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.

Is congestive heart failure ever temporary? ›

CHF is a chronic condition that gradually worsens over time for many patients, although some cases may be reversed with timely treatment and healthy lifestyle choices.

Is congestive heart failure for life? ›

The good news is that advancements are constantly being made in treating CHF. However, despite the advancements, 5 years is the life expectancy of about 50% of those diagnosed with CHF. 90% of those in advanced CHF stages will pass away within a year. At moderate stages, patients average 10 years.

How long can congestive heart failure go untreated? ›

2. About half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. 3. Most people with end-stage heart failure have a life expectancy of less than 1 year.

Can a weak heart become strong again? ›

Until recently, it was believed that the human heart didn't have this capacity. But the heart does have some ability to make new muscle and possibly repair itself. The rate of regeneration is so slow, though, that it can't fix the kind of damage caused by a heart attack.

Can exercise help congestive heart failure? ›

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump as well as it should to meet the body's needs. Exercise can improve CHF because physical activity strengthens the heart muscle, which improves the heart's ability to pump.

What is daily life like with congestive heart failure? ›

This can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and coughing, and may limit everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries. Heart failure may also lead to weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles, or stomach, per the CDC.

What stage of heart failure is shortness of breath? ›

Stage 2 of Congestive Heart Failure

Stage two of congestive heart failure will produce symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations after you participate in physical activity.


1. Living with Congestive Heart Failure
(Get Palliative Care)
2. Matt's Story - From End-Stage Heart Failure to Recovery Video - Brigham and Women's Hospital
(Brigham And Women's Hospital)
3. Heart Failure: Everything You Need To Know
(Talking With Docs)
4. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Life Expectancy - Google vs. Reality
(My Beat Goes on)
5. Can you live 20 years heart failure?
(QUESTIONS and ANSWERS. w/ Elizabeth)
6. High Blood Pressure In Young Adults Could Lead To Heart Disease
(Voice of America)
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