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Heart failure — sometimes known as congestive heart failure — occurs when the heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. When this happens, blood often backs up and fluid can build up in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. Certain heart conditions, such as narrowed arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave the heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump blood properly.
is one of the main symptoms of heart failure. When the heart isn’t supplying enough oxygen-rich blood to your body, the lungs work harder to take in additional oxygen. The different types of heart failure can also have different symptoms.
The type of treatment you receive for heart failure can depend on the type of heart failure you have. Some potential treatment options include:
Medications- Various medications can be used to help manage heart failure. These can include medications that:
help remove extra fluid and sodium through urination, such as diuretics and aldosterone inhibitors slow heart rate, such as beta-blockers and ivabradine relax blood vessel walls, such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs make your heartbeats stronger, such as digoxin (Lanoxin).
Medical devices- There are several types of implanted medical devices that can help treat heart failure. Some examples are:
pacemakers, which can help to normalize your heart rhythms ventricular assist devices, which can help your ventricles pump blood more effectively implanted cardioverter defibrillators, which keep track of your heart rate and use small electrical signals to correct arrhythmias.
Surgery- A surgical procedure may be needed to treat blocked arteries, heart valve conditions, or congenital conditions. In very severe cases, a heart transplant may be recommended.
Lifestyle changes- As with a heart attack, your doctor will suggest lifestyle changes to help improve heart health and prevent heart failure from getting worse.
The different types of heart failure can have different causes:
Systolic failure. Systolic failure is often caused by chronic conditions that can cause the heart to become weak or damaged.
Diastolic failure. Diastolic failure can be caused by conditions that force your heart to work harder to pump blood. When this happens, the tissue of the heart can stiffen.
Right-sided heart failure. Right-sided heart failure is often caused by left-sided heart failure. As the left side of the heart weakens, blood backs up in the right side of your heart, causing it to work harder.