Heart failure is commonly thought of as a condition in which the heart
stops working. In fact, it occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood
to fulfill the body’s needs. Heart failure can occur over time and
it may lead to other serious complications that might require a quick
trip to the ER at
Plantation General Hospital. Although heart failure is not curable, it is manageable.
Am I at risk of heart failure?
Consider talking to your physician about whether you could be at risk
of heart failure. It is more common among people with diabetes, high blood
pressure, and coronary heart disease (CHD). Your risk might also be elevated
if you have sleep apnea, a prior history of heart attack, congenital heart
defects, valvular heart disease, heart arrhythmias, or obesity. Some lifestyle
habits are associated with an increased risk of heart failure, such as
tobacco use and heavy alcohol use.
What are the signs of heart failure?
If you notice any abnormal changes, consider bringing them to the attention
of your doctor. Heart failure is typically indicated by shortness of breath,
persistent wheezing or coughing, and swelling in the abdomen or lower
body. Fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite are other
possible signs of heart failure.
How is heart failure diagnosed?
After evaluating your symptoms, reviewing your medical history, and performing
a physical exam, your physician might recommend some tests to check whether
you could have heart failure. Chest X-ray images might reveal enlargement
of the heart and fluid buildup in the lungs. An echocardiogram uses sound
waves to show your doctor the shape and size of your heart, and check
how well it is pumping. You might also be asked to take a stress test.
During this test, your cardiovascular function is evaluated while you
walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle. Other tests that might
be helpful include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography
(CT) scans, electrocardiogram (ECG), and coronary angiogram.
At Plantation General Hospital, you’ll find comprehensive diagnostic
services, including stress tests, echocardiograms, and chest X-rays. We
also offer emergency care in Plantation, FL, in addition to robotic surgery,
cardiovascular surgery, and psychiatric care. If you have general questions
about our cardiovascular services, you can call our Consult-A-Nurse line