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Heart Failure Health Center

Medical Reference Related to Heart Failure

  1. 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. ..

  2. 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.

  3. Treatment Overview

    Treatment depends on the cause of heart failure, which type you have, the severity of your symptoms (classification), and how well your body is able to compensate.Treatment of heart failure that is caused by a filling problem (diastolic heart failure) may differ from treatment of heart failure that is caused by a pumping problem (systolic heart failure). Identifying the type of heart failure you .

  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. Health Tools

    Health tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition. Activity and exercise for heart failure Avoiding triggers for sudden heart failure Eating less sodium when you have heart failure Taking your medicines properly when you have heart failure Watching your fluid intake when .

  6. Frequently Asked Questions

    Learning about heart failure:What is heart failure?What causes heart failure?What are the symptoms of heart failure?What increases my risk for heart failure?When do I need to see my doctor?Who is affected by heart failure?Being diagnosed:How will my doctor diagnose heart failure?What is an echocardiogram?What are the different types of heart failure?Should I see a specialist?Getting treatment: ...

  7. Symptoms

    In the earliest stages of heart failure, you may not have any symptoms. Shortness of breath with exertion and fatigue often develop when the weakened heart is not pumping enough blood to meet your body's needs for oxygen and nutrients. The body's efforts to make up for heart failure eventually cause symptoms to get worse. Classic symptoms of heart failureSymptomWhat is it?More ...

  8. Topic Overview

    A ventricular assist device (VAD),also known as a heart pump,is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body. See an illustration of a VAD. A VAD can be implanted in the chest or worn outside the body. If it is implanted,surgery is done to place it in the chest area. The pump part of the VAD is placed in a small space in your upper abdomen. Batteries ...

  9. Topic Overview

    Many hospitals and insurers have developed disease management (DM) programs to educate people with heart failure about their disease. Disease management includes a broad range of health services,such as home health care,visiting nurses,and rehabilitation. The goal of DM programs is to offer a combination of treatment,complication prevention,and education in a variety of settings. Although ...

  10. Joan's story

    Joan figured she would need months to recover physically from the heart attack 2 years ago that led to her heart failure. She didn't realize she would need just as much time to recover emotionally. "I was only 52 when I had the heart attack," she says. "Heart disease runs in my family,but I thought I'd been taking care of myself. It just hit me out of the blue. And then I got heart failure ...

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