First and foremost, ‘heart failure’ is a slightly misleading term since it does not mean the heart has stopped working. Rather, the heart’s ability to pump oxygen and nutrients is weaker than normal. The body’s kidneys respond by causing the body to retain fluid and sodium, which makes the body become congested.
The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, which causes decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. For more on heart failure’s symptoms and causes, read Dr. Malinki’s past post on the subject.
Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in people over the age of 65. It cannot be cured, but it can absolutely be manageable. Sherman Health has a wonderful Heart Failure Recovery Center, provides education and support to heart failure patients. Our patients have found that by learning as much as they can and by being actively involved in their own care, it is possible to improve the quality of life.