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Heart Failure Defined :-

In heart failure , the heart cannot pump enough blood through the body. The heart cannot fill with enough blood or pump with enough force, or both. Heart failure develops over time as the pumping action of the heart gets weaker. It can affect either the right, the left, or both sides of the heart. Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped working or is about to stop working.

In most cases, heart failure affects the left side of the heart when it cannot pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. When heart failure affects the right side, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen.

In Normal Heart

In normal hearts, blood vessels called veins bring oxygen-poor blood from the body to the right side of the heart. It is then pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, picking up oxygen. From there, the blood returns to the left side of the heart. Then it is pumped through a large artery called the aorta that distributes blood throughout the body.
When the heart is weakened by heart failure, blood and fluid can back up into the lungs, and fluid builds up in the feet, ankles, and legs. People with heart failure often experience tiredness and shortness of breath.

Heart failure is a serious condition. Scientists estimate that 5 million people in the U.S. have heart failure and that number is growing. It contributes to 300,000 deaths each year. Heart failure is most common in those who are age 65 years and older and is the number one reason older people are hospitalized.
Heart failure tends to be more common in men than in women, but because women usually live longer, the condition affects more women in their 70s and 80s.

Heart failure can also be called congestive heart failure, systolic heart failure, diastolic heart failure, left-sided heart failure, or right-sided heart failure.

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart's function as a pump to deliver oxygen rich blood to the body is inadequate to meet the body's needs. Congestive heart failure can be caused by:

diseases that weaken the heart muscle
diseases that cause stiffening of the heart muscles
diseases that increase oxygen demand by the body tissue beyond the   capability of the heart to deliver.

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Symptoms and Diagnosis :-

The most common symptoms of heart failure include :-

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Feeling tired
Swelling. Swelling usually occurs in the ankles, feet, legs, and sometimes in the   abdomen.
The cough can be worse at night and when lying down
Swelling is caused by fluid buildup in the body
Can lead to weight gain and frequent urination

Tests that are given to determine heart failure include :-

A chest X-ray takes a picture of your heart and lungs. It will show whether your   heart is enlarged or your lungs have fluid in them, both signs of heart disease.   A BNP blood test measures the level of a hormone called
BNP -- B-type natriuretic peptide -- that increases in heart failure.

Treatment and Research

There is no cure for heart failure, but it can be controlled by treating the underlying conditions that cause it. The goals for treatment are to improve symptoms, stop it from getting worse, and prolong life span.
Treatment includes lifestyle changes, medications, and specialized care for those who are in the advanced stages.

Treatment for heart failure will reduce the chances that you will have to go to the hospital and make it easier for you to do the things you like to do. It is very important that you follow your treatment plan by keeping doctors appointments, taking medications, and making lifestyle changes.
Your doctor will probably recommend that you follow a diet low in salt because salt can cause extra fluid to build up in your body, making heart failure worse. You should limit the fluids you drink and weigh yourself every day. Let your doctor know right away if you have sudden weight gain. This could mean extra fluid is building up.

Your doctor will prescribe medications to improve your heart function and symptoms. These may include:

Diuretics :- which are water or fluid pills. These reduce fluid in your lungs and swelling in your feet and ankles.
ACE inhibitors :- to lower blood pressure and reduce strain on your heart.

Medications your doctor may prescribe include:

Beta blockers :- to slow your heart rate. They will also lower blood pressure to relieve some of the workload on your heart.
Digoxin :- will help the heart beat stronger and pump more blood.

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