According to the American Heart Association, heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, is one of the most common causes of hospitalization for adults age 65 years and older. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump blood as efficiently as it should and therefore is not able to meet the body’s blood and oxygen needs. Since the amount of blood pumped is not adequate to circulate the blood returning to the heart from the body and lung, it causes fluid (mostly water) to leak from capillary blood vessels. If left untreated, the condition can worsen.
While symptoms of the condition can vary, common signs of congestive heart failure include fatigue and weakness, a reduced ability to exercise, swelling (edema) and shortness of breath. The disease is commonly caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, disorders of the heart valves, and other problems. Less common causes include viruses or thyroid disorders.
If a person already has heart disease, certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and calcium channel blockers can also cause the condition to develop or become worse. Also having diabetes as well as taking some of the drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of heart failure in some people.
The Mayo Clinic explains that, “heart failure can involve the left side (left ventricle), right side (right ventricle) or both sides of your heart. Generally, heart failure begins with the left side, specifically the left ventricle — your heart's main pumping chamber.” The disease is diagnosed by a thorough physical exam, a series of laboratory tests, and a patient’s medical history. If you have the disease, you must carefully follow their doctor’s orders. Treatment includes reducing sodium in your diet, lifestyle changes such as losing weight and managing stress, medications, mechanical therapies, surgery or a heart transplant.
This post is for informational purposes only. Consult your health care provider with any concerns or questions regarding your health.
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