What is Heart Failure?

Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, gives and explanation of what heart failure is and how it occurs.

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Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist, gives and explanation of what heart failure is and how it occurs.
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Featuring Dr. Sean Virani, MD, MSc, MPH, FRCPC, FCCS, Cardiologist

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Broadly speaking, heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood and oxygen to our organs and tissues. The heart only does two things: it pumps, and it relaxes. So any dysfunction in the pumping function or the relaxing function can result in heart failure.

Heart failure is typically a disease of the elderly. Many of the risk factors for development of heart failure are things that we see in higher prevalence in the elderly; for example, high blood pressure. They can also be the cumulative effect of a number of different toxins that you’ve consumed over your life, or degeneration of the heart valves. But for whatever reason you develop heart failure, it tends to be more common in the elderly, and that’s sort of people over the age of 65.

What’s interesting is that as the population ages and we see changes in the population pyramid, there’s going to be an increasing number of people in North America—and worldwide for that matter—who have heart failure. And it’s estimated that by 2050 about 40 percent of the population will be over the age of 65. So we’re going to clearly see an increase in the prevalence of heart failure as we move forward.

If you have any of the conditions I talked about: high blood pressure, problems with your valves or others, and think that you might be at risk for heart failure, I would encourage you to talk to your GP or cardiologist about it.

Presenter: Dr. Sean Virani, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.