Is Your Heart Failing You?

Heart failure. It doesn’t mean someone has died. But it does mean that someone’s heart is no longer working correctly. The heart is weak and not able to pump the way it should. There is no cure. Health failure is a chronic, but manageable, condition.

 

When the left side of the heart is not pumping well the individual suffers from left-sided failure. The symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Persistent cough or wheezing.

 

When the right side of the heart is not pumping well it is called right-sided failure. Right sided failure often follows left sided failure. The symptoms of right sided failure include:

  • Swelling of the feet, legs and the abdomen.

 

Symptoms common to both left and right failure are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite and/or nausea.
  • Confusion or impaired thinking.
  • Increased heart rate.

 

Any disease that causes the heart to work harder than normal may, if it’s left untreated, lead to heart failure. Diseases that often lead to heart failure include:

  • High Blood pressure.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Severe lung disease.
  • Structural defects in the heart.

 

The incidence of heart failure increases with age. African Americans have a much higher rate of heart failure than other Americans.

NY Times

 

If you have one of the conditions listed above, manage your disease according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations. Prevent or postpone heart failure. Your heart is in your hands.

 

For more about heart failure see:

 

The American Heart Organization

Medline Plus

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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