Heart failure occurs as a result of the heart failing to pump enough blood around the body. It occurs as a result of the heart muscle becoming too weak or stiff.
The most common symptoms are:
Heart failure is a serious condition which can be treated with medications to strengthen the pumping action of the heart. As there are other causes of breathlessness, it is very important to make the correct diagnosis.
A number of tests can be used to help diagnose heart failure. There are a number of causes of heart failure including:
You will need some basic blood tests, an ECG and an echocardiogram to make the diagnosis and delineate the underlying cause. In many cases it will be necessary to perform further tests.
Heart failure is usually a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment. Treatment is a combination of lifestyle measures and medication. In some cases the underlying cause may require surgery, for example, if the underlying cause is related to a heart valve problem.
Treatment for heart failure can be effective and can help the heart become stronger, improve symptoms, reduce the risk of a flare-up and allows people with the condition to live longer.
Lifestyle changes are important and include: