Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. Heart failure is usually a chronic condition, but it may come on suddenly.
The condition may affect only the right side or only the left side of the heart. Usually, both sides of the heart are involved.
Heart failure is present when:
As the heart’s pumping becomes less effective, blood may back up in other areas of the body. Fluid may build up in the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and the arms and legs. This is called congestive heart failure.
The most common causes of heart failure are:
Other heart problems that can lead heart failure include:
These non-cardiac diseases can also cause or contribute to heart failure:
Common symptoms of heart failure include:
A Deborah physician can often tell from a physical exam that a patient has congestive heart failure based on swelling in the legs and feet, and hearing fluid in the lungs with a stethoscope. Additional testing will confirm a preliminary diagnosis and can include:
Upon diagnosis, heart failure is staged from A to D.
The director of our heart failure program, Dr. Kulpreet Barn, goes over the basics of HF in our new video. To learn even more, listen to Dr. Barn’s full podcast at https://demanddeborah.org/articles/thriving-with-heart-failure-disease/Watch Video
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