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Diseases & Conditions
Brushing off heart failure symptoms
Overlooked symptoms and disparities in health care can delay diagnosis and treatment.
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive, life-threatening condition in which the heart does not pump well. Despite its serious nature, initial symptoms may not seem concerning. "Heart failure is often missed because it can appear in subtle ways. It’s not usually diagnosed until months or years later, when symptoms are intolerable and a person is hospitalized for it. By that point, the risk for dying from it has already risen significantly, sometimes higher than the risk of death from cancer. So it’s important to catch heart failure early," says Dr. James Januzzi, the Hutter Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
There are two main ways that heart failure affects the body and triggers symptoms.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
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You might also be interested in…
Heart Failure: Understanding the condition and optimizing treatment
In Heart Failure: Understanding the condition and optimizing treatment, you’ll learn the mechanics of the heart, the symptoms and warning signs of heart failure, and the keys to an effective treatment plan. This report will help you understand and invest in the steps you need to take to keep heart failure in check. You’ll get guidance for monitoring symptoms, for sticking to your doctor's strategy, and for making heart-smart lifestyle changes.
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