Heart Failure: Compensation by the Heart and Body - Topic Overview
What happens when your body can no longer compensate?
If your body can no longer compensate for heart failure, you will begin to have symptoms, which consist of two major types:
Congestive symptoms, which are caused by the
backup of blood into the lungs and the other organs of the body. These symptoms
include shortness of breath and swelling in the ankles and
Low-output symptoms, which are caused by the inability of
the heart to generate enough cardiac output, leading to reduced blood flow to
the brain and other vital organs. These symptoms may include lightheadedness,
fatigue, and low urine output. If the cardiac output is very low, this can
damage organs, particularly the kidneys.
How long does it take before the body stops compensating for heart failure? Your body can compensate for heart
failure for a long time, often for many years. But the duration of
compensation can be extremely variable and depends on the cause of your heart
failure and whether you have other medical problems.