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Term / Heart Damage

The leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart muscle or vessels supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. These diseases include coronary heart disease, or CHD (also called coronary artery disease), high blood pressure and diabetes.

Heart failure develops over time as the heart’s ability to pump grows weaker. Heart failure may affect both sides of the heart or the right side of the heart only.  Most cases involve both sides of the heart.

Right-side heart failure occurs if the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Left-side heart failure occurs if the heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Right-side heart failure may cause fluid to build up in the feet, ankles, legs, liver, abdomen, and veins in the neck. Both right-side and left-side heart failure may also cause shortness of breath and fatigue.

Heart failure is very common, affecting nearly 5.7 million people in the United States and resulting in about 300,000 deaths each year. Both children and adults can have heart failure, although the symptoms and treatments for these populations may differ.

Currently, heart failure has no cure. However, treatments that include life-style changes and medication can help people live longer and more active lives. Researcher continue to advance the development of new ways to treat heart failure and its complications.

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