For decades, heart failure, as one of the many manifestations of heart disease, has been among the most widespread medical conditions across the US. Thus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020), more than six million adults in the country have heart failure, with more than 10% of deaths caused by this disease annually. Thus, when speaking of the etiology of heart failure, the possible causes include but are not limited to the history of coronary artery disease, heart attacks in the past, elevated blood pressure, intoxication, and cardiomyopathy (Story, 2018). The notion of heart failure (HF) is an umbrella term for its various subtypes, including acute and chronic HF and left and right HF.
When speaking of risks of having HF, practitioners generally divide them into modifiable and non-modifiable, with the latter being practically impossible to change. Thus, the modifiable risks of HF include smoking, being overweight, high sugar intake, elevated blood pressure, and limited physical activity (Story, 2018). The non-modifiable risks, for their part, include age (fifty-five years of age and older) and genetic predisposition to cardiovascular diseases.
However, some risk factors remain rather implicit and are not eligible for a specific category. For example, it is indicated in the recent study conducted by Nayak et al. (2020) that Black patients have the highest HF incidence rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Although some of the risks accounting for such a disparity are modifiable and concern, for instance, genetic predisposition to higher sensitivity to sugar, the other factors are deeply rooted in the national culture. Indeed, the existence of stigma and implicit racism in health care contributes to the racial disparities in treating heart diseases. Hence, it may be concluded that heart failure is a severe health condition that could be prevented by proper diet, lifestyle, and culturally sensitive care.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Heart failure. Web.
Nayak, A., Hicks, A. J., & Morris, A. A. (2020). Understanding the complexity of heart failure risk and treatment in black patients. Circulation: Heart Failure, 13(8), e007264. Web.
Story, L. (2018). Pathophysiology: A practical approach. (3rd. ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.