The early signs of heart failure are often very subtle, but it’s dangerous to ignore them. Proper treatment can improve the signs of heart failure and may help some people live longer. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising, reducing salt in your diet, and managing stress can improve your quality of life.
Heart failure often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened the heart. However, heart failure can also occur if the heart becomes too stiff.
Heart failure causes the main pumping chambers of the heart to become stiff and not fill properly between beats. The heart muscle may weaken and become damaged in some people. The ventricles can become too stretched to pump enough blood through the body. The heart cannot keep up with the demands placed on it to pump blood over time.
Any of the following conditions can damage or weaken your heart and can cause heart failure. Some of these can be present without your knowing it:
Heart failure signs may include:
See your doctor if you think you might be experiencing signs of heart failure. Call for medical assistance if you have any of the following:
Chronic diseases such as heart failure require lifelong management. In some cases, however, heart failure can improve with treatment, and the heart may become stronger as a result.
The underlying cause of heart failure can sometimes be treated by doctors. Heart failure may be reversed, for instance, by repairing a heart valve or controlling a fast heart rhythm. In most cases, heart failure is treated with a combination of medicines and sometimes with devices that help the heartbeat.
Doctors usually treat heart failure with a combination of medications. Depending on your symptoms, you might take one or more medications. The recommended medication can be: