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Heart Failure

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition that does not allow your heart to fill or pump properly. Your heart cannot pump enough oxygen in your blood to your organs and tissues. Fluid may not move through your body properly. Fluid may build up and cause swelling and trouble breathing. This is known as congestive heart failure. Heart failure is a long-term condition that tends to get worse over time. It is important to manage your health to improve your quality of life.

Heart Failure

What are the signs and symptoms of heart failure?

Signs and symptoms depend on the type of heart failure you have and how severe it is. You may have any of the following:

How is heart failure diagnosed?

Tell your healthcare provider about your health history and the medicines you take. Tell him or her if you have a family history of heart failure or cardiomyopathy. He or she will ask about your shortness of breath and other symptoms. You may need any of the following:

How is heart failure treated?

Heart failure is often caused by damage or injury to your heart. The damage may be caused by other heart problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure. The damage may have also been caused by an infection. Your healthcare providers will help you manage any other health conditions that may be causing your heart failure. The goals of treatment are to manage, slow, or reverse heart damage. Treatment may include the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage swelling from extra fluid?

What can I do to manage heart failure?

Your quality of life may improve with treatment and the following:

Prevent Heart Disease

Where can I get support or more information?

Heart failure can be difficult to manage. It may be helpful to talk with others who have heart failure. You may learn how to better manage your condition or get emotional support. For more information:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.