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Men have a higher incidence than women. People with diseases that damage the heart are also at an increased risk.

Heart failure

These diseases include:. An echocardiogram is the most effective way to diagnose heart failure. It uses sound waves to create detailed pictures of your heart, which help your doctor evaluate the damage to your heart and determine the underlying causes of your condition. Your doctor may use an echocardiogram along with other tests, including the following:. Your doctor may also perform a physical exam to check for physical signs of heart failure. For instance, leg swelling, an irregular heartbeat, and bulging neck veins may make your doctor suspect heart failure almost immediately. Treating heart failure depends on the severity of your condition.

Early treatment can improve symptoms fairly quickly, but you should still get regular testing every three to six months. The main goal of treatment is to increase your lifespan. Early stages of heart failure may be treated with medications to help relieve your symptoms and prevent your condition from getting worse. Certain medications are prescribed to:. Always speak with your doctor before taking new medications. Some medications are completely off-limits to people with heart failure, including naproxen Aleve, Naprosyn and ibuprofen Advil, Midol.

Some people with heart failure will need surgery, such as coronary bypass surgery. During this surgery, your surgeon will take a healthy piece of artery and attach it to the blocked coronary artery.

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This allows the blood to bypass the blocked, damaged artery and flow through the new one. Your doctor may also suggest an angioplasty.

In this procedure, a catheter with a small balloon attached is inserted into the blocked or narrowed artery. Once the catheter reaches the damaged artery, your surgeon inflates a balloon to open the artery. Your surgeon may need to place a permanent stent, or wire mesh tube, into the blocked or narrowed artery. A stent permanently holds your artery open and can help prevent further narrowing of the artery.

Other people with heart failure will need pacemakers to help control heart rhythms. These small devices are placed into the chest. They can slow your heart rate down when the heart is beating too quickly or increase heart rate if the heart is beating too slowly. Pacemakers are often used along with bypass surgery as well as medications.

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  4. Heart transplants are used in the final stages of heart failure, when all other treatments have failed. During a transplant, your surgeon removes all or part of your heart and replaces it with a healthy heart from a donor. A healthy lifestyle can help treat heart failure and prevent the condition from developing in the first place.

    Losing weight and exercising regularly can significantly decrease your risk of heart failure.

    Heart failure - Wikipedia

    Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can also lower your risk. Untreated heart failure can eventually lead to congestive heart failure CHF , a condition in which blood builds up in other areas of your body.

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    In this potentially life-threatening condition, you may experience fluid retention in your limbs as well as in your organs, such as the liver and lungs. Call or your local emergency services right away if you have these symptoms :. Heart failure is usually a long-term condition that requires ongoing treatment to prevent complications. When heart failure is left untreated, the heart can weaken so severely that it causes a life-threatening complication.

    You should take lifelong preventive measures to stay healthy.

    Topic Contents

    Always contact your doctor if you suddenly have any new and unexplained symptoms that may indicate a problem with your heart. It usually occurs because the heart has become too weak or stiff. Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working. It just needs some support to help it work better. Some people also experience other symptoms, such as a persistent cough, a fast heart rate and dizziness.

    Find out more about how heart failure is diagnosed. Sometimes anaemia , drinking too much alcohol, an overactive thyroid or high pressure in the lungs pulmonary hypertension can also lead to heart failure. What is heart failure? At first the heart tries to make up for this by: Enlarging. The heart stretches to contract more strongly and keep up with the demand to pump more blood.

    How the normal heart works

    Over time this causes the heart to become enlarged. Developing more muscle mass. The increase in muscle mass occurs because the contracting cells of the heart get bigger. This lets the heart pump more strongly, at least initially.

    Pumping faster. The body diverts blood away from less important tissues and organs like the kidneys , the heart and brain. Heart Failure Tools and Resources A wealth of information to help you successfully manage heart failure.