Heart failure means just that; your heart is failing to perform its vital function: pumping blood, and therefore oxygen and nutrients, through your body. Cardiologists from St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center warn, “When this most important muscle is weakened or injured, all other organs in your body suffer.”
Symptoms of heart failure include persistent fatigue, or a noticeable increase in heart rate, because your heart is working harder than it should need to. You may have swelling in your extremities and other areas, as your kidneys, not getting enough nutrients because of a hampered blood supply, can’t perform their job and get rid of water and salt. Your lungs may be affected, causing coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. Your stomach may not be able to digest as effectively, causing nausea or indigestion. Your brain, too, can be affected, causing confusion or memory loss. “If you have any of these symptoms — all of which result, in this case, from different organs being unable to complete their jobs because they are not getting the right help from the heart,” says a St. Luke’s Cardiologist, “you need to get them checked out.”
Your treatment plan might mean that there are lifestyle changes you need to make, such as eating different foods, getting a sleep plan, and incorporating more exercise you’re your day. There may be medicines you will be prescribed, or, in some cases, surgical procedures that need to be performed. Following your doctor’s recommendations can get your heart pumping with more strength and regularity — and increase the length and the quality of your life.