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Heart failure

‘Heart failure’ simply means that your heart isn't pumping blood as well as it should. Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working or that you are having a heart attack (but, people who have heart failure often have had a heart attack in the past). Heart failure is also called congestive heart failure (CHF). "Congestive" means fluid is building up in the body because the heart isn't pumping properly.

Causes of heart failure?

Heart failure has many different causes. Sometimes the exact cause cannot be found. The most common causes of heart failure are listed below:

  • Coronary artery disease (when the blood supply to the heart is partially or completely blocked); with or without a heart attack in the past
  • Problems with the heart muscle itself (cardiomyopathy)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Problems with any of the heart valves
  • Heart muscle disease or inflammation of the heart
  • The use of toxic substances (such as alcohol or drug abuse)
  • Congenital heart disease (a heart problem or defect you were born with)
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems

Symptoms of heart failure?

people who have heart failure:

  • Shortness of breath (perhaps when walking, climbing stairs or being active)
  • Shortness of breath when lying down
  • Lack of appetite
  • Waking up in the night, suddenly breathless
  • General tiredness or weakness, including the reduced ability to exercise
  • Swelling of the legs, feet or ankles
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid weight gain (1 or 2 pounds a day for 3 days in a row)
  • Chronic cough or wheezing
  • Nausea

Suggestions to reduce the risk of heart failure

  • Diet: Reduce the amount of salt you eat &  eat a diet low in fat and cholesterol
  • Alcohol: You will be advised to limit alcohol
  • Exercise: Most people with heart failure can still exercise doctor will help and decide how much & what kind of exercise can do
  • Weight: need to lose weight
  • Family support: Your family can be a big source of support, so involve them when possible
  • Other sources of support: Your doctor can give you information about support groups. It sometimes helps to talk with other people who have similar problems

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