How will I know if my heart is failing?

Written by: Dr Paramjit Jeetley
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Heart failure is the topic on the menu for discussion in one of today’s informative articles, as Top Doctors quizzes leading London-based consultant cardiologist, Dr Paramjit Jeetley on the condition's warning signs and risk factors.


If you are worried that you may be at risk of suffering from the serious heart condition, read on to find out if it is curable or not, and what measures you can take to either reduce your chances of suffering from heart failure or reduce the associated symptoms.

What are the main risk factors associated with heart failure?

There are quite a number of risk factors associated with heart failure. The main ones include the following:


  • family history of heart failure
  • history of a heart attack
  • previous chemotherapy treatment
  • use of recreational drugs
  • excessively high alcohol intake
  • viral illnesses


Sometimes, the heart can become stiff and can get thickened. This usually occurs due to long-standing high blood pressure. Also, problems with the valves or the lining of the heart can also lead to heart failure.


How will I know if my heart is failing?

The main symptoms of heart failure include breathlessness (especially if you notice that you suffer from breathlessness when lying down flat in bed or walking up hills, mountains, or stairs). Also, swelling in the legs, particularly in the ankles, is indicative of heart failure.


How can I prevent heart failure?

It is hugely important to seek medical advice if you notice that you are waking up at night with breathlessness, as well as showing signs of ankle swelling. An echocardiogram will typically be the first investigation carried out.


Is heart failure curable?

There are some very effective treatment options available nowadays. There are plenty of drugs that can effectively cure heart failure and restore one’s heart function. If heart failure is occurring due to an underlying condition such as valve disease, treating valve disease may improve the associated heart failure symptoms.


What measures can be taken to reduce the severity of one's heart failure?

Once the heart failure diagnosis has been established, it’s then about ensuring that we have the treatment available to treat that. If necessary, an effective measure would be to provide patients suffering from heart failure with water tablets, and reducing their salt intake.


Furthermore, a highly effective measure to reduce heart failure symptoms is regular exercise, and staying as active and as mobile as possible.


Book an appointment with Dr Paramjit Jeetley today by visiting his Top Doctors profile if you feel as though you are suffering from some or all of the symptoms mentioned in the article above.

By Dr Paramjit Jeetley

Dr Paramjit Jeetley is a leading consultant cardiologist in LondonHe is a leading expert in all aspects of his field and dedicates his profession to ensuring patients receive the highest possible level of care.

He has subspecialist interests in heart failure management and cardiac imaging - particularly echocardiography of which he has undergone advanced training of the use of complex studies with stress echo and transoesophageal echo. His wide range of expertise also consists of valvular heart diseaseadvanced renal disease, ischaemia testing for coronary artery disease, and cardiac CT

Since 2001, Dr Jeetley has been a consultant at the Royal Free Hospital, where he has also been Clinical Director since 2016. As Clinical Director, he provides leadership for the hospital's cardiology department as well as community-based services in Barnet and Enfield. He practices privately at the Royal Free Hospital and Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth.

As well as greatly committing to patient care, he also contributes to research in his field. Dr Jeetley is currently involved in a number of research projects relating to cardio-renal disease as well as contributing to the conception, analysis and writing of publications relating to cardiology care and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

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