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Call our 24/7 advice line for health care professionals and families if you need support with symptom management and end of life care - 01284 766133.

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Heart failure

Heart failure means that the heart does not pump blood around the body as well as it should.

Because the blood doesn’t circulate normally, oxygen struggles to reach the rest of the body. The body is not able to function in a normal way, which can result in breathlessness, tiredness, weakness, or swelling around the ankles.Heart failure does not mean that the heart stops working entirely, but it is serious and it does mean that the heart struggles to meet the needs of the body because the muscles or valves in the heart have been damaged.It is most often caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure or heart muscle diseases.

Symptoms of heart failure

Heart failure affects different people in different ways.

Symptoms could include:

Swelling (especially of the legs)
Rapid heart rate
Increased need to urinate at night

Help with heart failure

Heart failure can be a life-shortening illness, but there are some treatments that can help to limit the effects and offer a better quality of life.

At St Nicholas Hospice Care we can help people who have heart failure with:

Complementary therapies such as massage, Aromatherapy, Acupuncture and Reiki. These therapies can help with wellbeing, coping with anxiety, relaxation and managing difficult symptoms

Physiotherapy – to help with mobility and maximise independent living
Doctor and nurse-led clinics for outpatients
Counselling and emotional support – to help with emotional or spiritual guidance

We also have a range of groups and activities where you can meet people in a similar situation or talk to someone in a friendly and informal environment.

If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team. For further information about heart failure, please refer to the British Heart Foundation or Heart Failure Matters.