Heart failure - symptoms and causes knowing them now

 Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. 

When this happens, the blood often backs up, and fluid can build up in the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

Heart failure - symptoms and causes

Some heart conditions, such as narrowing of the heart's arteries (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually cause the heart to weaken or stiffen to a degree that affects its ability to adequately draw and pump blood.

Appropriate treatment can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and may help extend the life of the heart in some people. 

Making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising, reducing salt (sodium) in your diet, and reducing stress can also improve your quality of life. 

However, heart failure can be life-threatening. People with heart failure may develop serious symptoms and some may need a heart transplant or a VAD.

One way to avoid heart failure is to avoid and control conditions that cause heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.


Heart failure can be an ongoing (chronic) disease or it may appear suddenly (acute).

Signs and symptoms of heart failure may include:

  • Shortness of breath when active or lying down
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Poor ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink phlegm mixed with blood
  • Abdominal distension
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating or lack of attention
  • Chest pain if heart failure is due to a heart attack

the reasons

Heart failure usually occurs after other problems have damaged or weakened the heart. However, heart failure may also occur if the heart becomes too stiff.

In heart failure, the heart's main pumping chambers (ventricles) may become stiff and not fill properly between heartbeats. 

The heart muscle may be damaged and weakened in some. The ventricles may become so dilated that the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body.

Over time, the heart can no longer meet the usual requirements placed on it to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Your doctor can determine how well your heart is pumping blood by measuring how much blood it is pumping with each beat (ejection fraction). 

An ejection fraction is used to help classify heart failure and guide treatment. In a healthy heart, the ejection fraction is 50% or higher, meaning that more than half of the blood that fills the ventricle is pumped with each beat.

But heart failure may occur even with a normal ejection fraction. This occurs if the heart muscle becomes stiff due to conditions such as high blood pressure.

Heart failure may affect the left side (left ventricle), the right side (right ventricle), or both sides of the heart. 

In general, heart failure begins in the left side, specifically the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of your heart.

Any of the following conditions can damage or weaken the heart and can cause heart failure. Some of them may be there without you knowing:

Coronary artery disease and heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease and the most common cause of heart failure. 

This disease is caused by the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, which causes reduced blood flow and may lead to a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs suddenly when a coronary artery is completely blocked. Heart muscle damage from a heart attack may mean that your heart can no longer pump blood as well as it should.

Hypertension. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder than it should to pump blood to various parts of your body. 

Over time, this extra effort can make the heart muscle too stiff or weak to pump blood as it should.

Heart valve defect. 

The heart valves keep blood flowing in the right direction. 

A damaged valve 

— as a result of a heart defect, coronary artery disease, or inflammation in the heart 

— forces your heart to work harder, which can weaken it over time.

Myocardial damage. Heart muscle damage can be caused by many causes, including certain diseases, infection, excessive alcohol use, and the toxic effect of drugs such as cocaine or some chemotherapy drugs. Genetics can play a role in this condition, too.

Myocarditis. The most common cause of myocarditis is viruses, including the virus that causes Covid-19 disease, which can lead to left-sided heart failure.

A heart problem you're born with (congenital heart defects). If your heart and its chambers or valves don't form properly, the healthy parts of your heart have to work harder to pump blood, which can lead to heart failure.

An irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). An irregular heartbeat can cause your heart to beat faster and work harder. A slow heartbeat may also lead to heart failure.

Other diseases. Long-term illnesses 

— such as diabetes, HIV, an overactive or underactive thyroid, or a buildup of iron or protein in the blood 

— may also contribute to chronic heart failure.

Causes of sudden (acute) heart failure also include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Any disease that affects the whole body
  • Blood clots in the lungs
  • severe infections
  • Use of certain medications
  • Viruses that attack the heart muscle
  • risk factors

A single risk factor may be sufficient to cause heart failure, but heart failure may also be caused by a combination of factors.

Risk factors for heart failure include:

Coronary artery disease. Narrowed arteries may limit the heart's supply of oxygen-rich blood, resulting in weak heart muscle.

Heart attack. A heart attack is a form of coronary artery disease that occurs suddenly. Damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack may mean that your heart no longer exists Able to pump blood properly.

Heart valve disease. Having a heart valve that doesn't function normally increases the risk of heart failure.


When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder than it should.

Arrhythmia. Heart arrhythmias, especially if they are too frequent and rapid, can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.

Congenital heart disease. 

Some people with heart failure are born with problems that affect the structure or function of their hearts.


Diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Don't stop taking any prescribed medications on your own. Ask your doctor if you should change them.

Some diabetes medicines. 

The diabetes medications rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) have been found to increase the risk of heart failure in some people. 

However, don't stop taking any of these medications on your own. If you're taking it, see your doctor if you need to make any changes.

Some other medicines. 

Some medications may cause heart failure or heart problems. 

These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, some anesthetics, and some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, blood diseases, irregular or abnormal heartbeats, nervous system diseases, mental health conditions, lung, and urinary problems, and inflammatory diseases and infections.

Alcohol abuse. 

Excessive alcohol intake can weaken the heart muscle and may lead to heart failure.

sleep apnea The inability to breathe normally during sleep lowers oxygen levels in the blood and increases the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. Both of these problems can weaken the heart.

Smoking or tobacco use. 

If you smoke, quit. Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart failure.

obesity; The risk of heart failure increases among people who are obese.


Some types of viral infections can damage the heart muscle.


Complications of heart failure depend on the severity of the heart disease, general health, and other factors such as age. Possible complications may include:

Kidney damage or failure. 

Heart failure can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, which, if left untreated, can eventually cause kidney failure. Kidney damage from heart failure may require hemodialysis for treatment.

Heart valve problems. 

The heart valves, which keep blood flowing in the right direction, may not function properly if the heart is enlarged or if the pressure in your heart is too high as a result of heart failure.

Heart rhythm problems. 

Heart rhythm problems can create or increase the risk of heart failure.

liver damage; Heart failure can lead to fluid buildup, which puts great stress on the liver. Fluid buildup can lead to scarring, which makes it more difficult for the liver to function properly.


The primary measure to prevent heart failure is to reduce risk factors. 

You can control or eliminate many of the risk factors for heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking the medications prescribed by your doctor.

Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent heart failure include:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Controlling some conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Maintaining physical activity
  • Eat healthy food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce and control stress

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