The heart is a muscle and its role is to pump blood and nutrients through the circulatory system to provide each organ with the nutrients it needs to function. Heart failure occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to meet the body's energy needs because of impairment to the muscle or the valves. Heart failure can be chronic or acute.
A number of diseases can cause heart failure:
The symptoms of chronic heart failure are as follows:
The symptoms of acute heart failure are as follows:
Some factors may trigger or aggravate symptoms
After filling out a comprehensive questionnaire and performing a physical exam, the doctor will prescribe some of the following tests if he or she suspects heart failure:
Heart failure is first treated with medication to eliminate any accumulated water from the lungs, legs, etc. and lessen the heart's workload. Medication may also be administered to control the cause (e.g., hypertension, diabetes).
In certain cases (e.g., a heart valve problem), heart failure may be treated with surgery or another type of procedure.
Certain habits can help you better control heart failure:
Take medication as prescribed and always check with your pharmacist to ensure that any new medications—even over-the-counter drugs—are compatible with your existing drug regimen.
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