Your heart is a muscular organ responsible for pumping nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to every living cell in your body. For those with heart failure, the heart is not able to perform this function effectively, causing blood to back up in the veins. Depending on which structures of the heart are affected the most, this condition can lead to the buildup of excess fluid in the lungs, feet, and other parts of the body. To prevent these types of complications from occurring, cardiac care professionals typically treat this condition aggressively.
The leading causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease and heart attack (myocardial infarction). The coronary arteries are responsible for delivering oxygen-rich blood to the heart, allowing it to function normally. When these vessels are compromised by fatty plaques or the thickening of the artery walls, weakening of the muscle occurs. Heart attacks prevent oxygen from reaching the muscle altogether, which results in the death and failure of cardiac muscle.
Heart failure can also be caused by congenital defects, bacterial endocarditis, rheumatic heart disease, and calcium deposits from atherosclerosis. High blood pressure and diabetes have also been shown to be causes of this condition.
The symptoms of congestive heart failure typically include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Shortness of breath—at first only with activity, but progressing to shortness of breath at rest
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs (edema)
- The need to sleep propped up
- Weakness and fatigue
- A dry or wet cough, which may have a pink, frothy sputum
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Abdominal pain
If you are experiencing any combination of the above symptoms, consider seeking the help of a cardiologist. MountainView Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Care Center provides the community of Las Vegas with the most cutting-edge diagnostic tools and treatments available. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us at (702) 233-5300.