Understanding what causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can develop after other conditions may have damaged or weakened your heart. However, the heart doesn’t need to be weakened to cause heart failure. It may also occur if the heart becomes too stiff to pump efficiently.
In heart failure, the main pumping chambers of your heart (the ventricles) may become stiff and not fill properly between beats. In some cases of heart failure, your heart muscle may become damaged and weakened, and the ventricles stretch (dilate) to the point that the heart can’t pump blood efficiently throughout your body.
Heart failure can involve the left side (left ventricle), right side (right ventricle) or both sides of your heart. Generally, heart failure begins with the left side, specifically the left ventricle — your heart’s main pumping chamber.
Symptoms you may notice first
- swelling in your ankles, feet, and legs
- weight gain
- increased need to urinate, especially at night
Symptoms that indicate your
condition has worsened
a cough that develops from congested lungs
shortness of breath, which may indicate pulmonary edema
Symptoms that indicate a
severe heart condition
- chest pain that radiates through the upper body
- rapid breathing
- skin that appears blue, which is due to lack of oxygen in your lungs
Find a Doctor Near You Today
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