Talking to your family about your heart failure

It may initially be difficult for you to talk about your heart failure until you come to terms with the condition yourself. It’s important for you to understand that those close to you may also be experiencing similar reactions to you, such as fear and concern for your safety and well-being. They may need to share their thoughts and feelings with you. It’s worth considering that any reluctance you may have to share what is happening to you may well affect the people around you. Managing heart failure effectively is often a group effort. Your family members can play a key role in supporting you to live as actively as possible with your heart failure. So, it’s important for your own well-being that you don’t shut out your family members from helping and supporting you at this time. Show that you appreciate their concern. You may find the following suggestions helpful in talking with your family about your heart failure and involving them in ways that you feel comfortable:

  • As you learn more about heart failure keep them informed and updated
  • Let your family know the best way they can lend you emotional and moral support
  • Involve them in helping with aspects of your medical care issues, for example helping with your medicine regimen or measuring your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Consider ways in which you and your family can do activities together, for example:
  • be open to active family outings with realistic activity levels
  • prepare healthy meals together
  • encourage other family members to make the same positive changes to their lifestyle as this can lower their own risk of heart disease.
  • Make sure family members know that you will accept help, but that you want to remain as independent as possible. People with heart failure often have certain physical limits but they also need to stay active and exercise regularly. This is an essential part of your treatment programme.
  • Explore this website, org, together with a family member.

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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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