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Advanced Heart Failure

Advanced Heart Failure

Heart failure is more common than many of us would like to believe. Rather than simply being the sudden, catastrophic stopping of the heart, heart failure is a gradual process that occurs in stages, characterized by the heart not pumping blood as well as it should. Unfortunately, heart failure has risk factors that are all too common among American adults.

You may be considered at risk for heart failure even without structural heart disease if you have such risk factors as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, or metabolic syndrome. You may also be considered at risk if you have structural heart disease or have had a previous heart attack.

Symptoms of heart failure include decreased exercise tolerance, meaning that you notice a marked difference in your fatigue levels or how out of breath you feel during exercise or at rest. Leg or abdominal swelling and fluid retention are also symptoms of heart failure. Your doctor may also notice enlargement of the heart or other symptoms during an examination.

Heart failure is considered advanced when a person’s daily life and activity is severely limited by their decreased heart function. Fatigue, chest pain, or feeling out of breath may occur even at rest, and worsen during activity.

senior feels pressure in his chest

Symptoms of advanced heart failure:

  • shortness of breath when lying down
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • lack of appetite
  • nausea
  • abdominal swelling
  • irregular heartbeat
  • wheezing

If not treated, heart failure may lead to kidney or liver damage, heart valve problems, and heart attack or stroke. Heart failure requires a lifelong commitment to proper management. With treatment, signs and symptoms of the condition could improve and the heart muscle may get stronger.

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