Heart Failure

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Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs. The heart keeps pumping, but not as efficiently as a healthy heart. Usually, the loss in the heart's pumping action is a symptom of an underlying heart problem. Nearly 5.7 million Americans are living with heart failure, and 670,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The following are the most common symptoms of heart failure. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath during rest, exercise, or lying flat
  • Weight gain
  • Visible swelling of the legs and ankles (due to a build-up of fluid), and, occasionally, the abdomen
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain
  • Persistent cough - often produces mucus or blood-tinged sputum
  • Reduced urination

The severity of the condition and symptoms depends on how much of the heart's pumping capacity has been lost.

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