What is congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure, also known as heart failure, occurs when your heart can’t pump blood efficiently enough to meet your body’s demands. Your heart hasn’t stopped working, but it isn’t functioning properly. Symptoms of congestive heart failure include:
- Tiredness or severe weakness
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea or lack of appetite
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, or stomach
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Coughing up white or pink phlegm
- Increases in urination
- Weight gain from fluid retention
If you experience signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, severe weakness, or fainting, call 911 for immediate emergency medical attention. Doing so can save your life.
What are the risk factors for congestive heart failure?
Numerous genetic and lifestyle factors can increase your risk of congestive heart failure. Examples include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Having a heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid disorders
- Being age 65 or older
- Overweight and obesity
- Taking certain medications
- Congenital heart defects
- Irregular heartbeats
- Tobacco or excessive alcohol use
Men have higher rates of congestive heart failure than women, and the incidence of heart failure is greater in African Americans. Complications of the disease include kidney and liver damage and heart rhythm or valve problems.
What is the treatment for heart failure?
Your customized treatment plan for heart failure depends on your symptoms and the severity of your condition. Your doctor diagnoses heart failure after reviewing your medical history, blood tests, a stress test if necessary, and a biopsy or imaging tests before recommending one or more of the following treatments:
Treating the underlying cause
If uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, or another health condition is the cause of heart failure, your doctor treats the underlying health condition.
Your doctor might recommend one or more heart medications to control symptoms and lower your risk of complications.
If congestive heart failure is moderate or severe, your provider might recommend a surgical procedure, such as coronary bypass surgery; heart valve repair or replacement; or pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or ventricular assist device (VAD) insertion. In severe cases, you may require a heart transplant.
If you suspect congestive heart failure based on your symptoms or you’d like help managing the disease, call Sunnyvale Cardiology or book an appointment online today.