Millions have a weak heart: a quick check reveals whether you need to see a doctor

Millions of people suffer from heart failure each year. Often, the weakness of the pump arises unnoticed. If you too are at risk, try this quick check.

Constantly tired? Fast out of breath? Behind it can be heart failure. Physicians speak of heart failure when the heart can no longer provide all the organs with sufficient blood. According to estimates by the German Heart Foundation, this affects around 1.8 million people in Germany.

Usually, the heart pumps five to six litres of blood per minute at rest and up to 15 litres when loaded by the body. A weak organ sometimes only creates 2.5 litres. This can be life-threatening – for example, if the brain is no longer sufficiently supplied with oxygen.

Heart failure is the third most common cause of cardiac death

More than 300,000 patients are hospitalized every year because of heart failure. You have to deal with shortness of breath, rapidly decreasing efficiency or strong water retention (edema). According to the German Heart Report 2018, cardiac insufficiency is ranked third among the most frequent causes of death in cardiovascular diseases.

Since heart failure often develops gradually – for example after other illnesses, it is important to perceive changes exactly. A simple quick check by the German Heart Foundation with eight questions will help you to find out if you should go to the doctor.

Heart failure test:

  1. Do you tire quickly? Yes No
  2. Does she always suffer from respiratory distress – during exercise or even at rest? Yes No
  3. Do you wake up at night with shortness of breath? Yes No
  4. Do you have high blood pressure or have you had a heart attack? Yes No
  5. Do you need to water frequently at night? Yes No
  6. Is your heart rate more than 90 beats per minute? Yes No
  7. Is comfortable sleeping possible only in a semi-sitting position – possibly with many pillows? Yes No
  8. Do you have water in your legs and / or have you gained weight without eating anymore? Yes No

Recommendation for cardiac insufficiency test:

If you answered “yes” to more than two questions, you should consult your doctor and talk to him about heart failure.

To prevent heart failure

To protect your pump, it is important that you care for your vessels. Anything that narrows the bloodstream hurts. This mainly includes nicotine. So who is at risk, should not smoke or reduce quickly. You should also abstain from excessive alcohol consumption. In addition, a critical look at the scale and in the mirror is announced: Excessive pounds burden the heart, so much exercise and a balanced diet should bring the weight in the normal range.

For those already suffering from coronary heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, treatment is particularly important. Thus, these patients can prevent heart failure.

Overall, Dietrich Andresen, CEO of the German Heart Foundation, was optimistic about the presentation of the Heart Report: Cardiac insufficiency is in most cases the result of other chronic cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, diabetes, heart valve diseases, and atrial fibrillation. “If we succeed in treating these conditions consistently or even better avoiding their development through prevention, heart failure would very quickly be frightening.”