African American woman educated about heart failure

What Is Heart Failure?

Only you can take the first step to protect your heart health. Give yourself the attention you deserve, starting with learning the basics about heart failure.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a common, yet serious condition. Despite its name, heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart will suddenly stop working. Instead, heart failure develops slowly as the heart muscle gradually weakens.

Who’s at Risk for Heart Failure?

Despite as being considered a lower risk group, Hispanics hospitalized for heart failure are younger than Caucasians, have a higher risk of heart failure and higher rate of death. And although fewer people are getting heart failure in the United States, the rate of decline is much lower in the Black community than in other racial/ethnic groups.

fifty-two percent

Diabetes, obesity and smoking are responsible for more than half of the cases of heart failure1

three point six

3.6 Million women in the United States are affected by heart failure2

African American woman informed about causes of heart failure

Manage Your Risk Factors

You may be at an increased risk for certain disease states due to your race, ethnicity and gender – but these factors shouldn’t stand in the way to receiving appropriate care. You can protect your health, starting with learning the lifestyle changes that lowers risks the most.

Learn how to prevent heart failure

Heart Failure Symptoms

Breathing problems are common symptoms of heart failure. This happens when fluid backs up in the lungs and the surrounding tissues.


What to watch for

tired icon Fatigue (feeling very tired)
hard to breathe icon Shortness of breath with or without exercise
coughing icon Wheezing, or a dry hacking cough after lying down
    water retention icon Water retention
heart palipittions icon Heart Palpitations
concentrations icon Difficulty concentrating
dizziness icon Dizziness or fainting


How Heart Failure Is Diagnosed

Check your risk. Early diagnosis is critical to early treatment, which can delay some symptoms. So, it’s important to get checked out right away. Take a quick risk assessment to find out if you’re at risk for heart failure, and what you can do about it.

Heart Failure Treatment

There are many kinds of therapy for heart failure, including making lifestyle changes, taking medications, placing implantable devices and undergoing surgeries.

Elderly Asian woman working out to prevent heart failure
Heart failure can't be ccured, but many treatment options exist
Bowl of salad as diet to avoid heart failure

Resources & Research

Access Health Information & Healthcare

Boston Scientific talked to patients around the country to find out what resources would be most helpful and designed this resource page with your needs in mind.

  • Learn about health conditions and treatments
  • Find out why diversity in clinical trials matters
  • Find a doctor near you
  • Review questions to ask your doctor
  • Get reliable rides to your appointment
  • Understand common medical terms
Learn About Diversity in Clinical Trials

Women and minority clinical trial volunteers are needed in order to create meaningful medical research that applies to people of all backgrounds.

  • Find out who’s under-represented in clinical trials
  • Find out about the benefits for your family and community
  • Learn the basics about participating in clinical research
  • Take steps to improve diversity in clinical trials
Two women discussing about finding a heart doctor nearby

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They’re out there, and we have a tool to help you find them.

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1 American heart Association (2019). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2019 update.
2 Cleveland Clinic