About Heart Failure
Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is when a person's heart is too weak to properly pump and circulate blood throughout their body. The heart's main function is to pump blood and oxygen throughout our body. The heart has two small upper chambers (atria) and two large lower chambers (ventricles). These chambers pump to cycle blood and oxygen throughout the body.
Congestive heart failure results when the heart's chambers cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's blood and oxygen needs. In addition, congestive heart failure can impact the body's other organs including the kidneys and liver.
What Causes Heart Failure
A single or several conditions over time can increase your risk of developing heart failure by weakening your heart muscle or damaging your heart's vessels.
Risk factors for heart failure include:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure, or hypertension
- Previous heart attack
- Heart infections or inflammations
- Heart valve disease
- Abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmia
- Congenital heart defects present at birth
- Alcohol use
- Kidney disease
Heart failure occurs when the heart's four chambers cannot work together to pump enough blood properly through the heart, to the lungs, and throughout the body.