Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently. Heart failure is a condition or a collection of symptoms that weaken your heart.
Heart failure can affect the right or left side of your heart, or both at the same time. It can be either an acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing) condition.
In acute heart failure, the symptoms appear suddenly but go away fairly quickly. This condition often occurs after a heart attack. It may also be a result of a problem with the heart valves that control the flow of blood in the heart.
In chronic heart failure, however, symptoms are continuous and don’t improve over time. The vast majority of heart failure cases are chronic.
SYMPTOMS OF HEART FAILURE
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
- Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
CAUSES OF HEART FAILURE
Heart failure is most often related to another disease or illness.
- Cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that causes the heart to become weak
- A congenital heart defect
- A heart attack
- Heart valve disease
- Certain types of arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms
- High blood pressure
- Emphysema, a disease of the lung
- An overactive or under active thyroid
- Severe forms of anemia
- Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- Drug or alcohol misuse
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