What is Congestive Heart Failure?

When the heart cannot pump blood efficiently or effectively to the body it is called Congestive Heart Failure. This can be caused by narrowed arteries leading into the heart, damage to the heart muscle, scarring on the heart and infection. Over a half a million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure each year and it is estimated that almost 5 million people lead normal lives with this diagnosis.

Signs and symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure can include:
* Early fatigue with exercise or activity
* Difficulty breathing with activity or when lying down
* Swelling of the ankles and lower legs
These symptoms are caused by a build up of fluid as blood returning to the heart cannot be pumped efficiently through the heart.

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure can only be made by a physician. Treatment option can include rest, modification of activity, proper diet and medication. Many people are able to live normal lives with mild to moderate Congestive Heart Failure. Follow your physicians recommendations for treatment.

For more information please visit the American Heart Association's website or WebMD. You can also view this animated tool from the American Heart Association that provides information on the warning signs and symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure.

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