Heart Failure News

Heart failure occurs when your heart is no longer meeting the blood-pumping needs of your body. In some cases, the heart lacks the force to pump blood through the body; in others, the heart does not fill with an adequate supply of blood. Some people have both types of heart failure simultaneously.

Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped functioning or is about to. It's a condition that typically occurs gradually over time as the heart weakens.

Causes and Symptoms

Heart failure is often a complication of other conditions related to heart health, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Thus, people who have problems that lead to these issues -- such as those who are obese or those who've had a heart attack -- are also at risk for heart failure. In children, congenital heart defects can ultimately lead to heart failure.

If you have heart failure, your body will give you a number of warning signs that something is wrong. They can include fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and lack of appetite. You may also find yourself getting confused or having impaired thinking. Breathing becomes more difficult, and coughing and wheezing are common. Swelling caused by fluid buildup can occur in various places in the body, and your heart rate may increase.

Prevention and Treatment

Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake and exercising regularly can all help prevent heart failure as well as improve quality of life after it has occurred. Doctors generally prescribe a number of different types of medication to help with the symptoms and complications of heart failure. As heart failure advances, you may need a device like a pacemaker implanted into the body to assist your body in pumping blood properly. Heart transplants are a measure of last resort for people with severe heart failure when all other options have failed.

SOURCES: U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; American Heart Association

Date Posted
Article Title
Too Few Women, Docs Understand Dangers of Heart Disease

It kills more than all cancers combined, but study says many overlook the risk

Major Heart Group Says Doctor-Patient Talks Are Key

Info needs to be tailored to patient's needs, level of understanding

Meth Addicts' Hearts May Improve If They Quit

Only those who stopped using the drug reaped cardiac benefits, researchers say

'Healthy Obese' May Be a Myth

Higher risk for heart problems detected in new study

Angela Bassett Puts the Spotlight on Heart Health

Award-winning actress' mother had type 2 diabetes and died from heart issues

Iron Pills No Help for Certain Type of Heart Failure

High-dose supplements failed to improve exercise capacity, study says

Timing of Menopause May Affect Heart Failure Risk

Women whose periods end early and those who never give birth seem at added risk, research suggests

Heart Failure Patients Do Better When Sticking With Same Hospital

Continuity of care may be more important than speedy treatment, researchers say

Heart Failure, Job Loss May Be Deadly Combo

In study, heart failure patients had higher death risk if unemployed, but cause-and-effect unclear

Pump Implants May Rejuvenate Heart Failure Patients

Study found devices, typically used while awaiting a transplant, restored full function in some

Kidney Disease a Big Contributor to Heart-Related Deaths: Study

Finding points to need for screening for kidney function

Can Stem Cell 'Patch' Help Heart Failure?

Small improvement seen over one year in early study

Daily Glass of Beer, Wine Might Do a Heart Good

But drinking more may be bad news for your cardiovascular system, researchers say

Fish Oil Pills May Help After Heart Attack, Specialists Say

But review does not find it can help prevent heart problems

Failed Fertility Treatments, Poorer Heart Health Later?

Study found small link, but researchers not sure if treatments or underlying health problems to blame

Heart Disease Kicks in Earlier for Obese People

Study found that weight did not affect life span as much as quality of life

Pot Use Tied to Higher Odds for Stroke, Heart Failure

Study couldn't prove cause and effect, but experts say it's another risk factor to heed

Impotence Meds Might Give Men's Hearts a Boost, Too

But evidence isn't strong enough to routinely recommend Viagra or Cialis after heart attack, experts say

Zika Virus May Also Harm the Heart

9 Venezuelan patients developed irregular heartbeat, heart failure after infection, researchers say

Winter a Chilling Time for Heart Failure Patients

Studies found hospitalizations, deaths among these patients highest during that season

Review Raises Questions About Herbal Meds for Heart Problems

While popular among patients, they haven't been proven safe or effective in clinical trials, study says

More Exercise, Fewer Pounds: Cut Your Heart Failure Risk

Link was stronger for common but difficult-to-treat type of heart failure

Heart, Lung Problems May Not Always Need ICU Care

Study finds no difference in death rates, but higher costs for intensive care for some patients

What to Do If You Think You're Having a Heart Attack

Don't ignore chest pain and seek medical attention immediately, heart specialists say

U.S. Heart Failure Rates on the Rise

And heart disease remains the nation's leading killer

Soft Robotic Sleeve Shows Promise for Failing Hearts

But device has only been tested in pigs, so far

Study Ties Alcohol Abuse to Increased Heart Risks

Association similar to that from high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and diabetes, researchers say

Heart Failure Drug Shows Promise in First Human Trial

Cimaglermin appears to strengthen cells and improve heart function, researchers report

Heart Failure Protein May Signal Early Brain Damage

Higher levels indicated potential trouble, study showed

After Cancer, Higher Risk of Severe Heart Attack

Cardiologists, oncologists must work together, researcher says

3 Keys to Cutting Your Risk of Heart Failure

Guarding against obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes at middle age may slash risk, study finds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaques May Also Harm the Heart

Deposits can cause patients' heart muscle to stiffen, keeping it from pumping properly, study suggests

Hearts of Healthy People With Gene Mutations May Be 'Primed to Fail'

About 35 million people worldwide face heart failure risk from genetic flaws, researchers say

Device Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Treat Heart Failure

After a year, patients reported fewer symptoms, better quality of life, study finds

Prices of Generic Heart Failure Drugs Vary Widely

Patients can spend from $12 to $400 a month to fill common prescriptions, study reveals

Heart Failure Hospitalizations on the Rise in U.S.

But the length of stay is getting shorter and survival rates are going up, study finds

Sharp Drop in Blood Pressure After Rx May Be Risky for Some Heart Patients

Early study suggests potential downside, but more research is needed, experts say

Weight-Loss Surgery Tied to Lower Heart Risks

Patients were less likely to develop irregular heartbeat, diabetes, heart failure, study finds

Meat-Heavy Diets May Raise Older Women's Heart Risks

Vegetable protein sources appear safer, study suggests

Device Plus 'Aggressive' Drug Strategy May Curb Severe Heart Failure

Small study suggests real improvement for some patients, but more follow-up research is needed

Craving Salt? Your Genes May Be the Reason, Study Suggests

Inherited distaste for bitterness could make people reach for the shaker, putting heart at risk

Discovery Speeds Creation of Healthy Heart Cells From Scar Tissue

Mouse study findings might lead to better treatments for heart failure in humans

No Link Between Caffeine, Irregular Heartbeat in Heart Failure Patient Study

Stress test didn't show short-term changes after coffee drinking

Queen Latifah Puts Heart Failure Center Stage

Her mom's experience taught her to look for the warning signs

Could Prescribed NSAID Painkillers Raise Heart Failure Risk?

Study of millions of health records suggests an association, but can't prove cause-and-effect

Severe Obesity and Heart Failure

Study sees link even without other conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure

Smoking Thickens Heart Wall, Leading to Heart Failure: Study

The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk of damage

Heart Rhythm Disorder May Be Tied to Wider Range of Ills

Review links atrial fibrillation to increased risk for heart and kidney problems, not just stroke

Fewer Drugs in Pipeline to Treat World's No. 1 Killer

While number of cancer drugs rose, development of new heart medicines stalled, study finds

Too Many Public Defibrillators Out of Reach When Needed

Canadian study shows many are kept in buildings that aren't always open