With the right care, heart failure will not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
In general, women survive longer than men with heart failure 1-2 but remain symptomatic (ie. shortness of breath) and functionally more limited 3-4.
- Levy D, Kenchaiah S, Larson MG, Benjamin EJ, Kupka MJ, Ho KK, Murabito JM, Vasan RS. Long-term trends in the incidence of and survival with heart failure. N Engl J Med. 2002 Oct 31;347(18):1397-402. * .
- Roger VL, Weston SA, Redfield MM, Hellermann-Homan JP, Killian J, Yawn BP, Jacobsen SJ. Trends in heart failure incidence and survival in a community-based population. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2004; 292: 344-350.
- Riedinger MS, Dracup KA, Brecht ML, Padilla G, Sarna L, Ganz PA. Quality of life in patients with heart failure: do gender differences exist? Heart and Lung. 2001; 30: 105-116.*
- Friedman MM. Gender differences in the health related quality of life of older adults with heart failure. Heart and Lung. 2003; 32:320-327.*
Everyone with a chronic illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An "advance directive" or "living will" is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time. Learn More.
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Written with Dr. Eileen Hsich, specialist in Women & Heart Failure.