Congestive Heart Failure Specialist

CardioHealth

Cardiologists located in Jacksonville, FL

About 5.7 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure, a condition that occurs when the heart no longer pumps blood as well as it should. Although the underlying cause of heart failure isn’t always reversible, the condition is manageable with the right approach. At CardioHealth in Jacksonville, Florida, board-certified cardiologist Ramon Castello MD, FACC, FASE provides proven treatment solutions and ongoing care for patients with congestive heart failure. To learn more, call or book an appointment online today.

Congestive Heart Failure Q & A

CardioHealth

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure — or heart failure — occurs when your heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.

It can occur when the pumping chambers of your heart have stiffened and can no longer fill with enough blood between beats. It can also happen when your heart muscles have become too damaged or weak to sufficiently pump blood through your body.

In some cases, both of these problems are present.    

Heart failure can affect either or both sides of your heart. In many cases, heart failure begins with the left ventricle, which is your heart’s main pumping chamber.  

Although the term “heart failure” doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop, it’s important to seek medical care to keep the condition from progressing or causing severe complications like heart arrhythmias, kidney failure, or liver damage.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Heart failure symptoms can vary, depending on which side of your heart is affected. For example, when heart failure affects your left ventricle, you’re likely to experience shortness of breath as fluid backs up into your lungs.

When heart failure affects your right ventricle, fluid may back up into your abdomen, legs, and feet, causing noticeable swelling. This is called edema.

The most common warning signs of heart failure are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic coughing or wheezing
  • Fatigue, weakness, or lightheadedness
  • Fluid buildup (edema) in feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Nausea or lack of appetite
  • Confusion, decreased alertness, or difficulty concentrating

People with heart failure often experience shortness of breath either when they’re exerting themselves, or when they’re lying down. People who are affected by edema may also experience very rapid weight gain as their body retains more and more fluid.

What are the underlying causes heart failure?

Congestive heart failure develops after another health condition either damages or overworks your heart muscle, weakening it or making it too stiff. Some of the most common causes of heart failure are:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Defective heart valves
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle damage)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
  • Heart arrhythmias

Heart failure is more common in older adults who are past the age of 65, both because the heart muscle weakens with age and because older people are more likely to have lived with the kinds of diseases that facilitate heart failure for many years.

Being overweight also increases your risk of heart failure because carrying excess body weight places extra stress on your heart.

People who have had a heart attack are also more likely to develop heart failure.

How is heart failure treated?

When it comes to treating heart failure, early detection is vital. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner you can take action to address any contributing factors while protecting and supporting the long-term health of your heart.

The overriding goal for all heart failure patients at CardioHealth, no matter how advanced the condition, is to treat or manage the underlying cause — whether it’s heart disease, diabetes, or something else — to help reduce symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.

Many CardioHealth patients respond well to heart-healthy lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Depending on the type of heart failure you have, you may also benefit from medicines that help reduce the amount of strain on your heart and reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

If you have severe heart failure, you may require oxygen therapy or surgical intervention. As a cardiologist with extensive experience treating patients with heart failure, Dr. Castello can tell you which treatment is right for you and answer all of your questions.     

To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Conditions Treated