Heart failure means that your hearts having trouble pumping adequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood throughout your body and this can happen when the heart muscle becomes weak or stiff. Your heart may become weak or stiff for a variety of reasons but the most common are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease as well as smoking, obesity and excessive drinking. you should alert your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following: shortness of breath with everyday activities, swollen legs, feet or abdomen, chronic dry, hacking cough, lightheadedness, fatigue, sleep difficulty when lying flat on your back, and nausea or loss of appetite.
Your healthcare provider will use blood tests, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test or other tools if they suspect you have heart failure. Your health care provider may prescribe medications to help stall this chronic progressive disorder. You may also be counseled to make some lifestyle changes in addition to taking medications. You may be asked to limit fluid intake, monitor your weight, stay active, limit caffeine and alcohol and eat a heart healthy diet.
As your treatment may need to change over time, it is important to be open with your healthcare provider, track your symptoms and share your concerns during your appointments.