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Understanding Heart Failure

Heart failure is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. At [Practice Name], we are committed to providing comprehensive care and support for individuals living with heart failure. In this section, we will discuss the basics of heart failure, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.

What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It is a chronic condition that can affect the heart's ability to function properly and can lead to a range of symptoms and complications.


Common Symptoms of Heart Failure


Some of the most common symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly during physical activity or when lying down

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Dizziness or fainting spells


Causes of Heart Failure

There are several underlying causes of heart failure, including:

  • Coronary artery disease: Blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle

  • High blood pressure: Over time, high blood pressure can cause the heart muscle to thicken and become stiff, making it more difficult to pump blood.

  • Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, increasing the risk of heart failure.

  • Heart valve problems: Issues with the heart's valves can cause the heart to work harder to pump blood.

  • Congenital heart defects: Birth defects that affect the heart's structure and function can lead to heart failure later in life.


Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Failure


Diagnosing heart failure typically involves a thorough physical exam, medical history review, and a range of diagnostic tests, including blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, and stress tests.

Treatment for heart failure may include:

  • Medications: A range of medications can help manage heart failure symptoms and improve heart function.

  • Lifestyle modifications: Dietary changes, exercise, and stress reduction techniques can help improve heart health and reduce symptoms. 

  • Medical devices: Devices such as pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) can help regulate heart function and prevent arrhythmias.

  • Surgery: In some cases, surgical procedures such as heart valve repair or transplant may be necessary

Here at Morris Cardiovascular and Risk Reduction Center, we understand how difficult it can be to manage heart failure, which is why we offer Shared Medical Appointments with our Nurse Practitioner, Kimberly Ketter, who is an expert in heart failure. Click here to learn more about our Shared Medical Appointments!

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