Harvard Heart Letter

Heart beat: When success leads to failure

Heart beat

When success leads to failure

Nearly 5.5 million Americans live with heart failure, and their ranks are growing by 660,000 a year. Part of this growth is fueled by better care for heart attacks. Many people who survive one have permanent damage to their heart muscle. This can lead to heart failure — the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's demand for oxygen. Treating heart failure costs Americans nearly $35 billion a year, much of it from hospital stays. Stemming the rising tide of heart failure will hinge on efforts to prevent it by controlling risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity, excess weight, and poor diet.

Hospitalizations for heart failure

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