Heart Failure, contrary to popular belief, is not the same as a heart attack.
A heart attack is the actual death of heart muscle and it is brought about by being starved of oxygen as blood is not reaching it.
With Heart Failure, the heart cannot pump blood round the body as it should, but the heart muscle is still alive.
There is a third term, Cardiac Arrest which is the sudden stoppage of the heart as a result of malfunctioning electrical impulses. The three terms are different, but all three can have the most serious of consequences.
When a person suffers heart failure the ventricles (main pumping chambers) can become stiff and not be able to fill up with blood in between beats.
Heart failure can affect the left ventricle or the right or both. Usually it starts off with the left side.
Most of the symptoms are not exclusive. They can relate to other conditions. Such symptoms include chest pains, fainting, short breaths, swelling in legs and feet, but also swelling in the abdomen.
More seriously, fluid can build up in the lungs and the body can be retaining water in other parts.
Medical advice should be sought urgently, if any of the above conditions are suspected.