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Heart Failure Health Center

Medical Reference Related to Heart Failure

  1. Medications

    You probably will need to take a combination of medicines to treat heart failure, even if you do not have symptoms yet. Medicines do not cure heart failure. However, they can help you manage your symptoms.The goals of drug treatment are to relieve or control symptoms of heart failure, improve daily function and quality of life, slow the progression of the disease, and reduce the risk of ...

  2. Cause

    Heart failure is caused by diseases or other factors that affect the pumping ability of the heart, specifically the left lower chamber (left ventricle). When the heart cannot pump well, it is called systolic heart failure. Things that affect how the heart pumps include:Coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack (most common causes).Damage from poorly controlled high blood pressure or ...

  3. What Increases Your Risk

    Heart failure is generally the result of another disease, often coronary artery disease. Anything that increases your risk for developing that underlying disease is a risk factor for heart failure. This includes:Risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack.Risk factors for high blood pressure.Risk factors for heart valve disease.Risk factors for diabetes (because diabetes can ...

  4. Prevention

    The best way to prevent heart failure is to make changes in your lifestyle that lower your risk of developing heart disease. It is also important to control certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, to lessen your chances of developing heart failure. Heart disease caused by narrowing and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the blood vessels of the heart and ..

  5. End-of-Life Decisions

    Although heart failure treatment is increasingly successful at prolonging life and reducing complications and hospital stays, heart failure can be a progressive, fatal condition. Many important end - of - life decisions can be made while you are active and able to communicate your wishes.More informationHow can I help make decisions about long - term care?How can I prepare for end - of - life issu

  6. Topic Overview

    What is heart failure?Heart failure means your heart muscle does not pump as much blood as your body needs. Failure does not mean that your heart has stopped. It means that your heart is not pumping as well as it should.Because your heart cannot pump well, your body tries to make up for it. To do this: Your body holds on to salt and water. This increases the amount of blood in your bloodstream. ..

  7. Other Treatment

    Biventricular pacingSeveral new medical advances benefit people with heart failure. One is the biventricular pacemaker, which synchronizes the rhythm of the heart's chambers (cardiac resynchronization). It has been shown to improve quality of life in people who have severe heart failure and heart rhythm problems.6 New guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend biventricular pacing ..

  8. When to Call a Doctor

    Callor other emergency services immediately if you have:Chest pain that has not gone away within 5 minutes after taking one nitroglycerin and/or resting, especially if the pain is pressing or crushing and occurs with shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea.Symptoms of a stroke. These include: Sudden onset of tingling, numbness, weakness, or inability to move (paralysis) part or all of one side .

  9. Pacemaker for Heart Failure (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)

    Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a special type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker (say by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler) to treat heart failure. This pacemaker sends electrical pulses to make the ventricles pump at the same time. A biventricular pacemaker is implanted in the chest, and it connects to three thin wires, called leads. The leads go into different chambers of your heart. If there is a problem with your heartbeat, the pacemaker sends a painless signal through the leads to fix the problem. The pacemaker also can speed up your heart if it is beating too slowly. In some cases, you may get a pacemaker that is combined with a device to shock your heartbeat back to a normal rhythm if it is dangerously fast. The device is called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD. It can prevent sudden death. Your doctor will put the pacemaker in your chest during minor surgery. You will not have open-chest surgery.Your doctor makes a small cut (incision) in your chest.

  10. Exams and Tests

    Heart failure is a complex medical condition. There are several types of heart failure and a variety of causes. For these reasons, you will likely have several different tests over a period of time to help diagnose the cause of the disease and find out how severe it is. In some cases the cause of heart failure can be fixed (such as a heart valve defect) or is easily treatable (such as a thyroid ..

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