Heart failure, also designated as congestive heart failure, is a condition characterized by the heart’s inability to pump blood sufficiently and therefore is impeded to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure is not equivalent with a cardiac arrest, where the heart has stopped working. A heart failure may affect the left, right or both sides of the patient’s heart. However heart failures are most apt to affect the left side of the heart, where the heart is incapable of pumping enough oxygen-filled blood to the rest of the body. Heart failure may include shortness of breath or impaired breathing, tiredness, swollen ankles, feet, legs and occasional abdomen, cough caused by liquid in the lungs, increased weight, palpitations, and reduced concentration and alertness. Heart failure is treated by targeting the underlying conditions that may have led to the heart failure, lifestyle interventions (low salt diet, reduced liquids, weight reduction, exercise, smoking cessation, narrowing down alcohol consumption), medication, surgery in severe cases, nutritional supplements, herbal therapies, and acupuncture.
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