Heart Failure Clinic
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure means your heart muscle is not functioning as efficiently as it should, leaving you with a lack of energy, shortness of breath, swelling of extremities and other problems. It is a serious diagnosis, but can be managed with medication and/or lifestyle changes. Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome for which there is no diagnostic test.
Causes of Heart Failure
Doctors will diagnose heart failure based on a careful history, physical examination and tests. Many other heart conditions can lead to heart failure. If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, chances are you also have, or have had, one or more of the following conditions:
- Coronary artery disease
- A heart attack in the past
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal heart valves
- Heart muscle disease
- Congenital heart defect
- Severe lung disease
- Sleep apnea
Symptoms of heart failure
If you have heart failure, you may experience:
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath
- Fatigue and weakness from very little effort
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen
- Rapid weight gain from fluid retention (3 to 4 pounds in two days, or 2 pounds overnight)
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
Patients experiencing heart attack symptoms should call 9-1-1 for emergency care.