Despite its name, heart failure usually doesn’t mean your heart is on the verge of giving out. But chronic heart failure is a serious condition that demands diligent care to slow down the progressive heart damage. At Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, Ranjit Rajpal, MD, FACP, FACC, has extensive experience providing long-term cardiology care that helps maintain a healthy heart. With treatments tailored to meet your needs, you can keep enjoying life, even with heart failure. If you have shortness of breath, fatigue, or coughing, schedule an appointment today. Call the office in Madera, California, or use the online booking feature.request an appointment
What causes heart failure?
Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood out to your body. You can have acute heart failure: An emergency that suddenly occurs due to an infection, allergic reaction, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, or a blood clot in your lungs.
However, heart failure typically refers to a chronic condition that develops slowly as an underlying medical problem damages your heart.
Health conditions that lead to heart failure include:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart valve disease
- Heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis)
- Irregular heartbeat (heart arrhythmia)
- Thyroid disease
Your risk of developing heart failure rises if you have a family history of heart problems, smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, or use illegal drugs.
What symptoms develop if I have heart failure?
Heart failure causes symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty exercising
- Persistent cough
- Need to urinate during the night
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
The swelling associated with heart failure occurs when fluids build up in your body, a condition called edema.
How is heart failure treated?
When treating heart failure, Dr. Rajpal at Central Valley Cardiovascular Center focuses on managing the underlying health conditions, relieving your symptoms, and preventing the problem from getting worse. You may need to:
Change your lifestyle
Your lifestyle directly affects the health of your heart and can make a big difference in easing the symptoms of heart failure. If you don’t already follow a healthy diet and get regular exercise, Dr. Rajpal recommends steps you can take to make those changes. You may also need to learn how to manage stress, lose weight, or stop smoking.
Managing heart failure means keeping conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control. While lifestyle changes can improve many chronic diseases, Dr. Rajpal may prescribe medications.
You may also need to take medications that target heart failure. These medications reduce the burden on your heart by reducing blood volume, strengthening your heartbeat, and relaxing the blood vessels.
Dr. Rajpal may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to treat problems in your heart. For example, he may need to remove plaque that’s clogging the coronary arteries, repair damaged valves, or implant a cardiac defibrillator.
At the first sign of heart failure, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, or request an appointment online today.