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Heart Failure Health Center

Actress Elizabeth Taylor Dies of Heart Failure

Legendary Actress, 79, Had Been Diagnosed With Congestive Heart Failure in 2004
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About Congestive Heart Failure continued...

High blood pressure, past heart attacks, and other chronic conditions put people at risk of developing congestive heart failure, says Bolger, who was not involved in Taylor’s care. Heart valve problems can also contribute to its development. The most common symptoms are fatigue, breathlessness, and swelling from fluid buildup. Over time and if left untreated, the symptoms can become quite debilitating. “Even at rest, a person can be short of breath,” Bolger says of patients with advanced heart failure.

The onset of symptoms can occur slowly, and Bolger says that it is crucial to recognize if you are having trouble breathing when doing activities that used to require no effort.

There are treatments for congestive heart failure. Advances in technology, as well as understanding of the disease and its risk factors, have raised the likelihood of diagnosing congestive heart failure in its earliest stages, before symptoms become debilitating. One key to that, Bolger says, is keeping an eye on your blood pressure, and keeping it down.

Taylor's Acting Career

Taylor made her acting debut at age 10, in the1942 movie There’s One Born Every Minute. Two years later, she played the role that made her famous: as 13-year-old Velvet Brown in National Velvet.

Over the next six decades, she was cast in nearly 60 films. Several of them are among Hollywood’s greatest achievements: A Place in the Sun (1951), Giant (1956), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966). She received her first Oscar nomination in 1957, for her role in Raintree Country. She was nominated again the following year for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and the year after that as well for Suddenly Last Summer.

In 1960, she won her first Oscar for her portrayal of a high-priced prostitute in Butterfield 8. Her second came six years later. In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Taylor played opposite her real-life husband, Richard Burton, in their portrayal of one of the most dysfunctional couples ever to grace to silver screen.

Taylor's off-screen life was often in the tabloids. She was married eight times - twice to actor Richard Burton.

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