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 — 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, causing backflow. It can also happen when your heart muscles have become too weak to pump blood through your body sufficiently.
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.
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. Most patients have a combination of these symptoms.
The most common warning signs of heart failure are:
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.
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:
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.
People who have had a heart attack are more likely to develop heart failure due to muscle weakening. Hypertension is also one of the common causes of congestive heart failure: It makes the heart muscle stiff, which results in fluid retention.
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. That helps reduce symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.
The key to appropriately treating congestive heart failure is performing an echocardiogram. The test measures your heart's pumping capabilities and helps Dr. Castello determine which treatment you need.
Patients with heart failure either have stiff hearts or weak hearts. Depending on which type of heart failure you have, the medicines will help strengthen the heart to decrease the fluid overload.
If you have severe heart failure, multiple options are available, including medicines and cardiac devices. 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.