Your heart has one job — delivering oxygen-rich blood throughout your body — and that job is at the very cornerstone of your overall health. With congestive heart failure, your heart isn’t performing its job well, and your cells aren’t getting the blood they need. At St. Louis Heart and Vascular, the team of heart health specialists has extensive experience helping their patients manage heart failure, allowing them to lead as healthy and active lives as possible. If you’d like to learn more about congestive heart failure, call one of the six locations in St. Louis, Des Peres, St. Charles, and Bridgeton, Missouri, and Granite City, Illinois.

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Congestive Heart Failure Q&A

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure exists when your heart isn’t able to pump enough blood throughout your body because the muscle is too weak or stiff, or there’s a structural abnormality.

The reason it’s called “congestive” is that your kidneys aren’t getting the blood supply they need to properly filter out water, which leads to fluid buildup in your lungs, liver, and even your eyes.

There are several different types of heart failure, including:

  • Left-sided heart failure
  • Right-sided heart failure
  • Systolic heart failure
  • Diastolic heart failure

The team of physicians at St. Louis Heart and Vascular has the most advanced diagnostic tools to help determine where your problem lies.

What causes congestive heart failure?

A weakened or stiff heart can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Faulty heart valves
  • Damage to the heart
  • Congenital defects
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of your heart)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms)

Anything that causes your heart to work harder or damages the organ in any way, including prior heart attacks, can lead to congestive heart failure.

What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?

Because of the enormity of the problem, congestive heart failure makes itself known in many different ways, all of which are hard to ignore:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Fluid buildup in your legs
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating from fluid buildup

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you get in to see one of the cardiovascular specialists at St. Louis Heart and Vascular.

How is congestive heart failure treated?

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to congestive heart failure, but there is a lot that the doctors at St. Louis Heart and Vascular can do to help you manage your condition.

Using the latest treatment guidelines set forth by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, your doctor works to find a solution that improves your heart health and allows you to lead a normal life.

And the doctors at St. Louis Heart and Vascular not only follow the most up-to-date treatment protocols, but they also participate in research trials in order to provide their patients with the latest advances in congestive heart failure medicine.

If you’d like to learn more about living with congestive heart failure, call one of St. Louis Heart and Vascular’s six offices to set up a consultation.