Heart failure is a medical condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped working, but rather that it’s not functioning as effectively as it should. This can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs and abdomen, and difficulty exercising.
Heart failure can be caused by various underlying conditions that weaken or damage the heart muscle, including coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle), high blood pressure (hypertension), heart valve disorders, infections, and certain congenital heart defects. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise can also contribute to the development of heart failure.
Treatment for heart failure aims to relieve symptoms, improve the heart’s function, and address the underlying cause of the condition. This may involve medications to help the heart pump more effectively, such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and diuretics, as well as lifestyle changes like adopting a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and managing stress.
In some cases, more invasive treatments may be necessary, such as implantable devices like pacemakers or defibrillators, or surgical procedures like coronary artery bypass grafting or heart valve repair or replacement. The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the heart failure and the individual patient’s needs. Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare provider are essential for managing heart failure effectively and improving quality of life.