If you have heart failure, understanding your disorder is key to survival. Researchers at the University of Colorado found that regardless of age, income, education or coexisting health problems, patients who had trouble understanding hospital brochures or filling out forms were 97 percent more likely to die over the course of a year than those who didn't.

Heart failure requires daily precautions, such as checking your legs for swelling, watching for sudden weight gain and being alert to other signs that your heart is struggling.

Tell your doctor if you don't understand any of his or her instructions.

Source: J. of the American Medical Association, vol. 306, p. 1695; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 07 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 07 Jul 2013