What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure means that the heart works less efficiently than normal. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body's needs. The chambers of the heart may respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or by becoming stiff and thickened. The heart muscle may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. As a result, the kidneys may get affected and respond by retaining fluid (water) and salt. The fluid may build up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs. The congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.


Treatment for Heart Failure

The treatment of heart failure includes the treatment of the condition causing heart failure like CAD or atrial fibrillation. Taking heart failure medications, sodium restriction and life style changes like exercise will help. As the condition progresses, doctors specializing in the treatment of heart failure can offer more advanced heart failure treatments. The goals of treating heart failure are primarily to decrease the likelihood of disease progression (thereby decreasing the risk of death and the need for hospitalization), to lessen symptoms, and to improve quality of life. Based on your left ventricular function, you may also benefit from the ICD (Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator) and CRT (Cardiac resynchronization therapy).



Causes Heart Failure

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD), a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causes decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, stopping the flow of blood to the heart muscle. It can damage the heart muscle, resulting in a scarred area that does not function properly.

Non-ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood flow problems, such as from infections or alcohol or drug abuse.

Conditions that overwork the heart

Conditions including high blood pressure, valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth can all cause heart failure. In addition, the most common cause of heart failure in US is atrial fibrillation (tachycardia mediated cardiomyopathy).


Types of Heart Failure


Systolic dysfunction

occurs when the heart muscle doesn't contract with enough force, so there is less oxygen-rich blood that is pumped throughout the body.


Diastolic dysfunction

occurs when the heart contracts normally, but the ventricles do not relax properly or are stiff, and less blood enters the heart during normal filling.



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