The term ‘Heart failure’ or ‘HF’ makes it sound like that the heart is no longer functioning or working at all and there is nothing that can be done about it. But actually, heart failure means that the heart isn't pumping blood as well as it should be doing. Congestive heart failure is also a type of heart failure which requires that the patient seeks timely medical attention, although sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably.

The body depends on the heart's pumping activity to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all the body's cells. When the cells are properly well nourished then the body can function normally.

With occurrence of heart failure, the weakened heart cannot supply enough blood to the cells of the body. These results in fatigue (or lethargic) and shortness of breath and in some people they may cause coughing. This can affect everyday activities such as walking, climbing of the stairs or carrying groceries making them very difficult.


Any sign of the heart failure may not be cause for an alarm. But if you continue to have more than one of any of these symptoms, even if you have not been diagnosed with any of the heart problems, then you should consult a physician and report about them to a healthcare professional and ask for their guidance and evaluation of your heart. Heart failure can be ongoing or continuous (chronic), or your condition may start suddenly or abruptly (acute).

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure may include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you physically exert yourself or when you lie down to rest
  • Swelling (edema) in your ankles, legs, ankles, and feet
  • Fatigue and weakness throughout
  • Reduced ability to do exercise
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased need to urinate at night
  • Persistent coughing or deep wheezing
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Swelling of your abdomen
  • Sudden weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Difficulty concentrating on things or decreased alertness
  • Chest pain in case the heart failure is caused by a heart attack
  • Sudden and severe shortness of breath and coughing out pink, foamy mucus

Risk factors

Well, a single risk factor may be good enough to cause heart failures, but a combination of factors can only increase the risk.

These risk factors include:

  • Heart attack

  • High blood pressure.

  • Diabetes

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Sleep apnea

  • Some diabetes or other high power medications

  • Valvular heart disease

  • Congenital heart defects

  • Viruses

  • Irregular heartbeats

  • Tobacco use

  • Alcohol use

  • Obesity

Complications during Heart Failures

If you have or are having a heart failure, then your outlook depends on the cause and the severity of an attack, your overall health, and other factors included such as your age and such. So the complications will include heart valve problems, kidney damage or failure, liver damage, heart rhythm problems. In some people, symptoms and heart function can improve with proper care and treatment. However, whatever be the case heart failure can be life-threatening.

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