Relationships and emotions

Many people with heart failure have a lot of questions relating to how they feel after being diagnosed and the impact their condition can have on their life. This website provides information and tips on living with heart failure and coping with your emotions and your relationships, but sometimes you may find it useful to discuss these feelings with a healthcare professional.

Since being diagnosed with heart failure, I have been feeling depressed.
What help is available?

Depression and anxiety are very common in people who have been recently diagnosed with heart failure. However, if these feelings persist, talking to your doctor may help. He/she may be able to help you come to terms with your diagnosis and adapt your lifestyle as required and recommend some counselling for you, if necessary. Your medicines may need to be adjusted or changed.

Am I still able to have sexual relations?
Just as you should avoid certain very strenuous activities now that you have been diagnosed with heart failure, you may need to make changes to your sexual activity. Often this doesn’t mean that you have to stop sexual activity altogether, but your doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on what level of sexual activity is suitable for you. You may also find that you are not as interested in sex and this may be due to feelings of anxiety or depression caused by your heart failure. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor or nurse. Men may have problems achieving an erection and this may also be due to heart failure medications. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss this with your doctor. There is effective medical treatment for this condition.

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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