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Congestive heart failure: what you need to know

34799884 - suffering young woman having pain in chestNormally, we don’t think about the way our heart pumps blood. We depend on it to do so regularly and therefore, keep us alive. But if you have CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), your heart muscle is not something you can afford to take for granted.

What is CHF?

CHF is a condition in which the heart does not pump blood at an optimal level. This may be because the heart is weak, or contains a defect which affects its operation. Over time, this can cause the organs of the body to receive less blood (and less oxygen) to do their jobs properly.

What are the symptoms of CHF?

Common symptoms of CHF include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the extremities

What are the treatment options for CHF?

There are a variety of treatment options for CHF, including:

  • Medications. Talk to your doctor about prescriptions for blood-thinners, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, anti-platelet drugs, beta-blockers, statins, calcium channel blockers, diuretics and vasodilators.
  • Surgical procedures. You may be a candidate for an implantable defibrillator, pacemaker, left ventricular assist device (LVAD), stent, angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery, valve replacement surgery or even a heart transplant.