stories with heart Heart Failure Awareness Week

During the month of February, we hosted a Heart Talk on Twitter every Thursday in support of Heart Month.

In honour of Heart Failure Awareness Week, we thought we would recap Dr. Michael Chan's comments on heart failure.

Proud Edmontonian and donor to the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, Dr. Michael Chan is an Associate Clinical Professor & Cardiologist at the CK Hui Heart Centre and Co-Director of the Heart Function Stabilization Program.

In addition to administering echocardiograms and cardiac stress tests, he also participates in resident training and in-patient care in the CK Hui’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.


What is heart failure and how is it different than a heart attack?

The term heart failure might make you think your heart is about to stop working. In reality, it means that it isn't pumping as well as it should.

A healthy heart pumps blood throughout the body to make sure it gets all the blood and oxygen it needs. Over time, if you have heart failure, the heart can’t give the body everything it needs.

What are the different types of heart failure?

Types of Heart Failure

What likely caused my heart failure?

Heart failure often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened your heart. However, the heart doesn't need to be weakened to cause heart failure.  It can also occur if the heart becomes too stiff.

What symptoms should I be looking for?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Congested lungs
  • Fluid and water buildup (rapid weight gain)

 What lifestyle changes can I make to feel better?

  • Stick to a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • Limit bad fats, added sugars, salt, and alcohol
  • Don't smoke or use recreational drugs
  • Reduce your stress
  • Get enough sleep

 What kind of diet should I be on?

  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Control the amount of salt you intake
  • Learn to read food labels

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