Congestive Heart Failure

With congestive heart failure (CHF), your heart is still working – but not well enough.

Your heart is essentially a pump delivering blood throughout the body. Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, is a condition in which your heart doesn’t pump as well as it should. It’s still functioning, but your body isn’t receiving as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart pumps blood weakly to the rest of the body. Eventually blood begins backing up (or congesting) in the liver, abdomen, legs and lungs.

Close follow-up and treatment of heart failure can improve symptoms and help you live longer.

Heart failure is a serious condition that requires medical care. It is caused by many conditions that damage the heart muscle, including coronary artery disease, heart attack and cardiomyopathy, and by conditions that overwork the heart, such as high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease and diabetes. You may or may not have any symptoms of heart failure, which can be constant or may come and go.

Symptoms may include:
• Shortness of breath with exercise
• Difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed
• A dry, hacking cough or wheezing
• Swollen ankles, legs, abdomen and weight gain
• Dizziness, fatigue and weakness

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