Equip yourself. Learn about dyspnea.

Heart failure

Heart failure is one of the potential causes of dyspnea, or shortness of breath. This condition is usually defined as a situation where the heart is not able to provide as much blood flow as the patient's body needs. There are various classifications of heart failure, including based on issues such as which side of the heart is involved, functional impairment, and others.


Medical signs and symptoms that appear in heart failure may be different from one case to the next. The type of heart failure might also affect what issues appear, and the items mentioned on this page are from a mix of different classifications. Keep in mind that the list is not exhaustive, as well as the fact that having one of these does not necessarily indicate that someone has heart failure. As mentioned, shortness of breath may be present in the patient. Heart murmurs may appear. The patient might have ascites, which means fluid accumulation in the peritoneal cavity. He may experience wheezing. Frequent urination during the night might also happen.


In a study done over 19 years on patients in the United States, the most common cause, by far, of heart failure was ischemic heart disease, which had a population attributable risk (PAR) of 62 percent. Cigarette smoking was second at 16 percent. High blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes were also mentioned in the top five. PAR is not the same as the percentage of cases medically caused by something, but rather refers to the reduction of incidence that it is estimated would occur if the population were underexposed (relative to present exposure).


There is no one particular diagnostic method to check for heart failure. Various systems of criteria are commonly used. Echocardiography is often employed to lend support to a diagnosis of heart failure. Chest X-rays might be used to assist in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure. An electrocardiogram and blood tests are a couple of the other methods that can be made use in the diagnostic process of a case of this condition. Keep in mind that a doctor or other medical professional is involved in diagnosing heart failure.


There are a number of potential treatment method for heart failure, and the ones used in one case may vary from those used in another. Remember in the area of treatment, as well as other aspects, that you should not make a selection based on what you read on this page, as it is not professional advice. If there is a cause of heart failure that is reversible the doctor will recommend to work on that issue. Some examples of this include anemia, high blood pressure, and underlying infections. Many other treatment method are used.