What It Is And How It's Treated
Heart failure is a medical term that means your heart doesn't pump blood as effectively as it is supposed
to. It is also called congestive heart failure when the inadequate heart pumping causes fluids to build up in your
Heart failure can be improved with medications and
lifestyle changes but a complete cure is not known at this time. In fact, in some cases, the cause of heart
failure is not known.
There are several factors that contribute to heart failure. These include
coronary artery disease, heart muscle diseases, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart valve conditions,
abnormal heart rhythms, substance abuse, diabetes, thyroid disease, and congenital heart defects.
It is possible for you to have heart failure and yet
have very few symptoms. Other times the symptoms can be severe. Here are some of the symptoms that accompany this
medical condition: shortness of breath on exertion, shortness of breath when lying down, loss of appetite, fatigue,
awakening from sleep breathless, swelling of ankles, feet, or legs, abdominal swelling, irregular heart rhythm,
rapid heart rate, rapid weight gain of one to two pounds per day for at least three days in a row, wheezing,
coughing, and nausea. If you have had a heart attack previously or have other forms of heart disease, you should
notify your doctor right away if you have any of the above symptoms since you are at a higher risk of developing
Your doctor will order a number of tests that will allow him to make a diagnosis of
heart failure or rule it out. Some of these tests include an x-ray, EKG, blood work, urinalysis, echo cardiogram,
and a nuclear scan. These tests will assess if there is damage to the heart muscle or problems with electrical
conductivity of the heart.
Treatment for heart failure depends upon the cause. For example, if high blood
pressure is to blame, then your doctor will work with you to get your blood pressure lowered. If the problem is
with your heart rhythms, then medication might be indicated. Surgery might even be needed to repair a damaged heart
Your doctor may also want you to make lifestyle changes to help control the cause and
symptoms of your heart failure. You should follow his advice when it comes to the amount of exercise and exertion
you should undertake. You may be advised to lose weight and adopt a heart healthy diet that is low in cholesterol
and fat. You should also stop smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
Heart failure can often be controlled well enough for you to live a normal life and
go about your usual activities, but you will probably require frequent consultations with your doctor to prevent
potentially dangerous complications from developing. You will also need to closely monitor your blood and urine
values while taking medications to treat your disease. There are several types of medications used to treat heart
failure and it might take a while to find the best one for you that has the least amount of side
Return From Heart Failure To Blood Pressure Monitors