Can We Mend a Broken Heart?

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This was a piece I wrote in May for a CARP event hosted in White Rock.

I’d rather have a broken arm than a broken heart.


Spoken by a gal who knows what she is talking about. Christie Brinkley, supermodel, who has been divorced four times.


As Zoomers, we all know what it feels like to have a broken heart.


But instead of pondering about lost love, let’s talk about another type of broken heart…congestive heart failure or CHF.


Congestive Heart Failure or just Heart Failure is a condition when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to sufficiently maintain the body.  Heart Failure can develop as a result of the heart being damaged, such as after a heart attack or it can be a result of a weakened heart arising from many different causes.  Heart attack and high blood pressure (hypertension) are the two most common causes of heart failure.


Heart Failure is indeed a broken heart as it is not working properly and is weak and damaged.  The metaphor “broken heart” is not too different from Heart Failure as both have intense feelings of emotional and physical stress and an inability to be active with a potential loss of desire to live.


There is currently no cure for Heart Failure and it is a progressive condition worsening over time and often the cause of what is referred to as a “natural death.” It affects 600,000 Canadians and the mortality rate is very high.


Heart Failure patients have the highest hospital readmission rates and is the top reason patients are readmitted to hospital.


Canada’s average annual in-hospital mortality rate is:

  • 5 deaths/100 hospitalized patients >65 years of age
  • 5 deaths/100 hospitalized patients >75 years of age


There have been few new modalities in treating heart failure despite the high mortality rate until recently when there has been the introduction of two new novel therapies that work in unique ways.  These new drug classes were not available before.  One of them targets patients with a high heart rate which is associated with worse outcomes in heart failure and the other offers another option replacing the use of an ACE-Inhibitor or ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker) with this new combination product.


However with the medications and treatments available and with guided exercise and activity to maintain the heart condition, people can enjoy life and be active to a certain level.  As well, the medications and treatment have been shown to extend life expectancy.


So there is light at the end of this tunnel.

On this positive note, your CARP chapter is pleased to welcome back Dr. Larry Dian, who will be presenting on CHF in the 3rd and final of our Heart Health series for Zoomers.  Dr. Dian is a

geriatric medicine specialist and clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at UBC.


Dr. Dian’s key objectives will be:

  • To explain what Congestive Heart Failure is
  • To help you understand the concept of systolic versus diastolic heart failure
  • To inform you of the role of the various medications used in heart failure
  • To encourage you to adopt good practices to promote heart health and healthy living.


There will be an opportunity to ask questions about how you can live a healthier life with cardiovascular disease.


His last two presentations on Successful Aging and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease were sold out so please register early.

Supermodels are welcome to attend.


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