Posts Tagged With: definition of heart failure

Day 1178: What is heart failure?

Yesterday, I asked the blogging question

What if the concept of failure did not exist?

Today, I ask the blogging question

What is heart failure?

Please do not fail to take a moment to answer that question, in your own heart.

My heart  tells me there are many definitions of heart failure. Indeed,  I did not fail to find this definition of heart failure online:

Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically, failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. Heart failure may be due to failure of the right or left or both ventricles. The signs and symptoms depend upon which side of the heart is failing. They can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver’s (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart.

Until today, my heart has failed to tell you about this heart-felt exchange with one of my heart doctors, Dr. Estes, last week:

Dr. Estes: I think you’re in Class 2 heart failure.

Me:  I don’t believe you. Maybe Class 1.  MAYBE.

Dr. Estes:  Well, there’s a grey area between Class 1 and Class 2.

Are you surprised at my heart’s failure to

  • report about that conversation before today or
  • accept Dr. Estes’s opinion?

My heart has such an unusual structure that nine out of ten doctors fail to agree about its failures and its successes. And I find that thinking in terms of failure — for my heart or for anything else — does not help me survive or succeed.

My heart will not fail to provide you with a definition of Class 1 and Class 2 heart failure, here and now:

Class I

No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, palpitation (feeling heart beats), or dyspnea (shortness of breath).

Class II

Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.

Again, my heart expresses this:  I believe my heart is not failing me. I feel comfortable during all ordinary physical activities, except climbing stairs. And, I have no swelling, blueness, or duskiness, EVER. I do have some enlargement of the upper part of my heart, because of my leaky valve.

Also,  I have an amazing team of heart doctors, committed to helping my heart not fail.

My heart will not fail to express this, either:

I think the term “heart failure” is a failure of the heart because it is WAY too frightening.   My heart-felt suggestion:  stop using “heart failure,” replacing it with a more heart-successful term, like “heart struggle.”

Do you see any heart struggles in my heart-felt pictures from yesterday?




Please do not fail to express what is in your heart, below.

Heart-felt and successful thanks to all who helped me create this heart-struggling post and to you — of course! — for not failing to read it.

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

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