Heart Failure

Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke

Heart failure means that your heart is not able to pump blood in the way it should. The most common cause of heart failure is a heart attack, which causes damage to the muscle of the heart. Common causes of chronic (long–term) heart failure include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle)
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Disease of the heart valves
  • Thyroid gland disease
  • Alcohol or substance abuse

All these conditions put extra strain on the heart over a long period of time. The heart initially tries to cope with the extra workload by getting bigger, developing more muscle or beating faster in an attempt to keep up with demand.

But eventually it cannot cope and when it starts to fail symptoms will become evident. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms, but you might feel short of breath when you are physically active. For some people this happens even when they are at rest. You may feel very tired, or have swollen feet and ankles.

If you have had a serious heart attack the symptoms may develop suddenly but they can also develop over weeks, months or longer.

Useful resources

Is your lung condition... Stopping you getting a good night’s sleep? Making you feel...
Work Well Live Well is a FREE workplace health and wellbeing support programme funded by...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
As well as continuing to offer services to people with chest, heart and stroke conditions...
Educating and inspiring people in our local communities to lead a healthy and active...
Well NI is our range of workplace health promotion services which aim to improve people’s...
Our interactive webinars empower people to make informed lifestyle changes that will...
If you’re living with a long-term chest, heart or stroke condition, then our Taking...
Our information and wellness sessions delivered across NI focus on secondary prevention,...
If you’re living with a respiratory condition, then our Breathing Better team is here to...
Delivered over 6 weeks, this online cardiac education programme brings together groups of...
This idea is a walk in the park. It really is that simple, post a news item to see how...
Cancer Focus NI, Keeping Well vans are mobile drop-in units which bring health checks,...
Well Checks Our 'Well Check' is a comprehensive cardiovascular health check that can...
Well mind is a workshop which focuses on recognising the triggers of stress and the...
Is your heart condition.... Stopping you doing the things you want to do? Limiting your...
This supportive behaviour change programme motivates individuals who are ready to make...
Nutrition scanner
Food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach
Support to drink responsibly
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
Use this tool to enter your blood pressure reading and find out what it means, along with information on how to reduce a high reading.
The Heart Age Test tells you your heart age compared to your real age.