What's the difference between heart failure and heart disease?

The recent death of actress Elizabeth Taylor has focused the spotlight on heart failure.

But what's the difference between heart failure and heart disease?

When you hear the term "heart disease" you might think about the narrowing of the arteries that lead to the heart.

But that's just one type of cardiovascular disease. Think of heart disease as a general term that includes multiple conditions that impact the structure or function of the heart.

Overall, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Coronary artery disease is one type; heart failure is another. Elizabeth Taylor died from heart failure.

Nearly five million Americans suffer from the disease and their prognosis is grim: less than 25 percent will still be living 10 years after being diagnosed.

Heart failure doesn't mean that the heart has stopped working---but rather it simply can't pump efficiently. Overtime the workload becomes too much for the heart and body to handle.

The most common symptoms are fatigue and shortness of breath
While there's no cure for cardiovascular disease, lifestyle changes and medications can help. If you think you're at risk, talk to your doctor.


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