What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump blood the way it should. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart can’t send blood to the rest of the body with enough force. Some people have both problems.
“Heart failure” doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. However, it’s a serious condition that requires medical care.
Heart failure develops over time as the pumping of the heart grows weaker. It can affect the right side of the heart only or both the left and right sides of the heart. Most cases involve both sides of the heart.
Right-side heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. Left-side heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
Right-side heart failure may cause fluid to build up in the feet, ankles, legs, liver, abdomen, and, rarely, the veins in the neck. Right-side and left-side heart failure also cause shortness of breath and fatigue (tiredness).
Heart failure is a very common condition. About 5 million people in the United States have heart failure, and it results in about 300,000 deaths each year.
Both children and adults can have heart failure, although the symptoms and treatments differ. This article focuses on heart failure in adults.
Taking steps to prevent CAD can help prevent heart failure. These steps include following a heart healthy diet, not smoking, doing physical activity, and losing weight if you’re overweight or obese. Working with your cardiologist to control high blood pressure and diabetes also can help prevent heart failure.