Heart Failure
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Heart Failure,

Heart Failure

Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. [1]

Common causes of heart disease include:

  • Coronary artery disease and heart attack
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Faulty heart valves
  • Damage to the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or a buildup of iron (hemochromatosis) or protein (amyloidosis) [2]

Heart Failure Symptoms

Signs and symptoms commonly include increased shortness of breath (especially when lying flat), sudden gain of more than 3 lbs (1.5 kg) over 1 to 2 days, or 5 lbs (2.5 kg) in a single week, bloating or feeling full all the time, cough or cold symptoms that last for longer than a week, tiredness, loss of energy or extreme tiredness, loss of or change in appetite, increased swelling of the ankles, feet, legs, sacrum (base of the spine) or abdomen (stomach area), and increased urination at night. If any of the above-listed symptoms occur, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider. [3]

Heart Failure Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment can help people who have heart failure live longer, more active lives. Treatment for heart failure depends on the type and severity of the heart failure. Treatments usually include lifestyle changes, medicines, surgery, and ongoing care. [4]

Treatment options include:

  • Lifestyle changes (e.g., healthy eating, aiming for a healthy weight, physical activity, quitting smoking)
  • Medicines (e.g., ACE inhibitors, aldosterone antagonists, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, digoxin, diuretics, isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine hydrochloride)
  • Medical procedures and surgery (e.g., mechanical heart pump, heart transplant) [5]


[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/basics/definition/con-20029801

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/basics/causes/con-20029801

[3] https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/conditions/heart-failure

[4] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hf/treatment

[5] Ibid.

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