Heart failure

Heart failure reduces the heart's ability to circulate blood around the body. It is common to experience fatigue and shortness of breath. Other symptoms that may occur are chest pain, palpitations and swelling in the legs. Heart failure can be a sign of some other disease.

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The heart is a muscle that has the task of pumping blood around the body. It consists of two cavities, one on each side, which are both shaped like chambers. Heart failure can occur when the heart has insufficient pumping capacity as a result of enlargement of the cavities in either the left or right ventricle. Thickening of the heart muscle can also lead to reduced pumping ability. This can result in fluid accumulating in, for example, the legs and lungs, and other typical symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath occurring.

Heart failure can develop over a long period of time or appear suddenly. Acute heart failure can occur at the same time as a heart attack or in connection with, for example, blood poisoning. The most common cause of chronic heart failure is damage to the heart muscle as a result of a heart attack. Another common explanation is long-term high blood pressure. What remains is impaired blood circulation, low blood pressure, high heart rate and impaired function in both lungs and kidneys.

Common signs and symptoms

Heart failure is a disease that causes a number of symptoms. Common signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet and ankles, chest pain, and palpitations. Breathing may become faster than usual. Patients may also experience difficulty sleeping or coughing, especially at night. Additionally, a person with heart failure may find it difficult to tolerate physical exertion and may experience shortness of breath when doing strenuous activities.

Many different symptoms can be caused by heart failure, of which fatigue and shortness of breath are the most common. Edema is also a common sign. Acute heart failure often presents with sudden symptoms that require immediate treatment. Symptoms that develop over a longer period of time give a similar disease picture, but not as acute a deterioration.

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