At first you may not have any
symptoms from heart failure. For a while, your heart and body can make up for heart failure. For example, your heart can pump faster and pump more blood with each beat. This is called compensation.
But as your heart has more
trouble pumping enough blood to your body, you will likely have symptoms. These symptoms may get worse or change if your heart failure gets worse.
Drug therapy to lower blood pressure has been shown to reduce heart failure rates by 40%-60%.
Reducing blockages in the coronary arteries with anti-cholesterol drugs has been shown to reduce heart failure rates by 30%.
Early diagnosis and treatment of heart-valve abnormalities can prevent heart failure caused by chronic volume overload of the heart's left chamber.
Heart failure is grouped—or
classified—according to symptoms.
Your treatment is based partly on what class of symptoms you
There's also another way to define heart failure.
It's based on the
stages you might go through as your heart failure gets
worse. Your doctor also may make treatment choices based on your stage of heart
Symptoms of sudden heart failure
Sometimes your symptoms may get worse very quickly. This is
called sudden heart failure. It causes fluid to build up in your lungs, causing
congestion. (This is why the problem is often called congestive heart
failure.) Symptoms may include:
Severe shortness of breath.
An irregular or fast heartbeat.
Coughing up foamy, pink mucus.
Sudden heart failure is an emergency.
You need care right away.