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What is heart failure and how is it treated?

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Uploaded on May 17, 2010

Heart failure is generally defined as inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the body's needs. It has various diagnostic criteria, and the term heart failure is often incorrectly used to describe other cardiac-related illnesses, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or cardiac arrest.
Common causes of heart failure include myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and other forms of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease and cardiomyopathy. Heart failure can cause a large variety of symptoms such as shortness of breath (typically worse when lying flat, which is called orthopnea), coughing, ankle swelling and exercise intolerance. Heart failure is often undiagnosed due to a lack of a universally agreed definition and challenges in definitive diagnosis. Treatment commonly consists of lifestyle measures (such as decreased salt intake) and medications, and sometimes devices or even surgery.

Related Links:

Tara Whitmire - APRN
http://www.alegent.com/whitmire

Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Specialists
http://www.alegent.com/heartandvascular

Cardiology Blog
http://www.alegent.com/heartblog

Alegent Health Clinic
http://www.alegent.com/clinic

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