Heart failure in a condition in which the heart does not pump as much blood as the body needs. The term “failure” does not mean that the heart has stopped, simply that it is not pumping as well as it should.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
- Shortness of breath while at rest, with mild exertion, while lying down or shortness of breath that wakes a person from sleep
- Leg swelling
- Dizziness or fainting (rare)
Over time, symptoms may get worse until they are always present.
Heart failure can also occur suddenly, a condition called acute or sudden heart failure. Sudden heart failure is a medical emergency that causes rapid and severe shortness of breath and irregular or rapid heartbeat.
Causes/Risk Factors for Heart Failure
In men, coronary artery disease and heart attack are the most common causes of heart failure. In women, high blood pressure is the most common cause.
Diagnosing Heart Failure
Because there are numerous types and causes of heart failure, several methods may be used to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure. These include:
Heart Failure Treatment Options
Treatment depends on the cause of heart failure, the severity of symptoms and how well the patient's body is compensating for the condition. Options may include: