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October 23, 2017 | Cardiology
Heart failure, also referred to as congestive heart failure, is a condition that occurs when the heart doesn’t pump blood properly. Conditions like narrowed arteries or high blood pressure can gradually weaken or stiffen the heart, eventually making it unable to pump blood efficiently.
Treatments can improve signs and symptoms of heart failure and help increase lifespan, though not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be reversed.
Symptoms and Complications
Heart failure can be either chronic (building over time) or acute (sudden). Signs and symptoms of heart failure include:
See your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. If you feel chest pain, fainting or severe weakness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, or coughing up mucus, seek immediate medical attention. These signs are not always indicative of heart failure, but could be due to other life-threatening conditions.
Complications from heart failure can include:
Causes and Risk Factors
Heart failure is often caused by other conditions that have weakened the heart, but this is not always the case. It may also become stiff and stop filling properly between beats.
Heart failure can involve the left side of the heart (left ventricle), the right side of the heart (right ventricle), or both. It generally begins on your left side, the heart’s main pumping chamber. Some of the conditions that can cause heart failure include:
There are numerous risk factors for heart failure, including:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing and properly classifying heart failure depends on your symptoms and risk factors. It begins with a physical exam, and may require a variety of potential tests.
Treatment for heart failure falls into two categories: Medications and surgeries/devices. Medication may include the following, sometimes more than one at a time:
Surgical and device options include the following:
Preventing heart failure involves eliminating your risk factors, which mainly comes from making lifestyle changes. Such changes may include:
If you fear you have some of the signs of heart failure, contact your doctor or emergency medical services right away.
Our providers are board certified in general cardiology and interventional cardiology. We have over 30 providers with decades of experience in heart-related care. As a part of Utah’s largest independent physician group, we have a network of physicians who are able to care for all cardiology needs.
“Heart failure.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/basics/definition/con-20029801
“Heart Failure.” American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/Heart-Failure_UCM_002019_SubHomePage.jsp
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.