The term “heart failure” includes any condition where the heart cannot properly do its job of pumping blood to the body. The organs of the body don’t receive the amount of blood they need. This causes one set of problems. Also, pressures build up in the heart, and this causes a backup or congestion of blood that backs up into the veins of the body and into the lungs. This process causes a second set of problems. The kidneys start retaining fluid. Legs and other tissues swell. The lungs retain fluid. Breathing becomes difficult.
Symptoms of congestive heart failure include:
· Swollen legs or ankles
· Difficulty breathing
· A lasting cough
· Reduced ability to exercise.
· Call your physician if you have any symptoms that include tiredness, difficulty breathing, swelling, or shortness of breath. Do not wait, thinking it will pass.
· Become a “team” with your doctor. Ask your doctor what medications you should take, what they do, and whether they have side effects. Ask for information that will help you decide which foods you can eat and what to avoid. Work with your doctor to set up a good exercise program.