Heart failure can be caused by a variety of conditions. In addition to a narrowing of the heart valve, other problems can lead to a lowered blood volume. This can lead to shortness of breath, dizziness, and confusion. In addition, the heart may become overworked, pumping blood more rapidly to make up for the reduced volume. This, in turn, can trigger stress hormones to increase. Because of this, people with heart failure need to be closely monitored for symptoms of the disease.
Heart failure is often treatable, although the symptoms can worsen over time. The condition may be treated with surgical repair, a biventricular pacemaker, cardiac resynchronization therapy, or a mechanical heart pump. However, when the condition becomes life-threatening, only a heart transplant can save the patient.
To find out whether heart failure is the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will run a full physical examination. They will listen for any signs of heart muscle stiffness or weakness. They may also run blood tests to determine kidney and thyroid function. They may also check for abnormal cholesterol levels and anemia.
If you suspect you have heart failure, it is important to seek treatment right away. This can reduce your risk of heart failure and reduce the amount of time it takes to recover. A doctor can give you some medications that may help.