Heart Failure and Your Emotions
The effects of heart failure on your body -- like shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling -- are easy to see. What’s not as obvious is the toll
a weakened heart can take on your emotions.
Living with this condition can stir up a whole range of feelings, from fear and sadness to anxiety, depression, and even anger.
And when you let them simmer, they can cause even more damage to your heart -- and make it harder to treat.
Research shows people with positive outlooks are more likely to take their medicine. They also stick to heart-healthy habits like eating nutritious
food and exercise.
Managing your emotions is one way to gain more control so you can start to feel better.
How Heart Failure Makes You Feel
When you're diagnosed with a long-term disease like heart failure, it's normal to feel a lot of different emotions, including:
- Fear about the future
- Worry you'll lose control over your health
- Anger that you have heart failure, or that it interferes with your life
- Stress over your ability to manage your condition
- Loneliness because you worry other people don't understand what you're going through
If you have these feelings and let them build up, it could make matters worse. Stress and anger can raise your blood pressure and make your
heart work even harder. Both can be as bad for your heart as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Depression – which includes feeling sad for at least 2 weeks -- affects up to 70% of people with heart failure. If you don’t treat your depression,
it might be harder for you to control your heart disease.
Women are more likely than men to say that they feel stressed and depressed. Men can feel that way, too, but they may be less likely to say so.
How to Handle Your Emotions
One of the best ways to deal with emotions like depression, anxiety, or anger is to talk about them. Turn to friends, family, co-workers, and
members of your religious group for a caring shoulder to lean on.
Also try these tips to help you manage your emotions:
How to Handle Depression
Don't ignore it. Watch out for the signs so you can get treated. Sometimes the symptoms aren't what you expect. Along with sadness, you might have:
- Lack of energy
- Appetite loss
- Feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
If these symptoms last for more than two weeks, discuss them with your doctor, a psychologist, or a therapist. The doctor might recommend treatments
such as counselling or talk therapy, an antidepressant, or both.