from MedisoftIndia

Heart Failure

Despite the way it sounds, the term "heart failure"  means that your heart isn't pumping blood as well as it should. Heart failure doesn't mean your heart has stopped working. Heart failure is also called congestive heart failure. "Congestive" means fluid is building up in the body because the heart isn't pumping properly.

The causes of heart failure:
Heart failure has many different causes. Sometimes the exact cause can't be found. The most common causes of heart failure are listed below:

The symptoms of heart failure:
Some people with heart failure have few problems or symptoms. The following is a list of problems that people with heart failure might have:

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, especially if you've had heart problems before.

The useful tests:

Your doctor will probably suspect heart failure based on your medical history, symptoms and a physical exam. He or she might also order some the following tests:

The last 2 tests are often used to make sure of the diagnosis. An echocardiography is a test that causes no pain. A probe is moved across the surface of your chest. It sends out sound waves that allow your doctor to get pictures of your heart. The pictures show your doctor how well your heart is pumping.

The Treatment of heart failure:
Much can be done to improve the heart's pumping and to treat the symptoms, but heart failure can't be completely cured. An important part of treatment is taking care of any underlying problems, such as high blood pressure. Treatment also includes lifestyle changes and medicine. Here are some important things you should talk about with your doctor:

Medications useful in  heart  failure:
Many different medicines are used to treat heart failure. You may need one or more medicines, depending on your symptoms. Your doctor will talk about these medicines with you. It may take a while to find the best medicine and the optimum dose for you.

Several kinds of medicines are commonly used to treat heart failure:

You might need to take other medicines if you have other problems or if you have side effects with any of these medicines.

When you're taking medicine for heart failure, you'll need to have blood tests to check the level of a substance in your blood known as potassium and to check your kidney functions. How often you need blood tests depends on the type and strength of medicine you are taking. Many patients take these medicines without any problems. However, if you have concerns about the medicine or think you may be having side effects, you should talk to your doctor. It's very important that you take your medicine exactly as advised by your doctor.

Follow up:
At first, you may need to be seen as often as every week to check how you're reacting to the medicine. After your doctor has adjusted your medicine and you're feeling better, you may need to be seen less often.

You should call your doctor if you are short of breath or have swelling in your ankles or feet. You should also call if you gain 3 to 5 pounds in 1 or 2 days. (To keep track of your weight, weigh yourself each morning after urinating but before you eat anything.)

You should call your doctor if you have any questions about your condition or medicine.

This is a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. To find out if this handout applies to you and to get more information, talk to your doctor.

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