Nearly 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure or congestive heart failure. Cardiovascular specialist Alex Alperovich, MD, FACC, FSCAI, at Advanced Cardiovascular & Vein Center in Jackson, Tennessee, offers expert support when you suffer from this condition in which your heart works less efficiently than normal. To have your congestive heart failure managed for the long term, call the office at (731) 215-1281 or book an appointment online today.
Congestive Heart Failure Q & A
What is heart failure?
Heart failure refers to a condition in which your heart has stopped working as efficiently as it should. Your blood moves more slowly through the heart and consequently increases pressure on it.
When you have less blood pumping through your heart, you have less blood flowing to essential organs and not enough oxygen and nutrients to meet your body’s needs. To compensate, your heart muscle walls stretch to hold more blood to try and serve the body. However, with time this weakens the heart so it can’t pump as efficiently.
Your kidneys are affected by this diminished heart efficiency and cause your body to retain fluid and salt, congesting the body such that you have congestive heart failure.
What are the symptoms of heart failure?
Heart failure doesn’t always present with severe symptoms, though you may have intermittent signs that include:
- Congested lungs that present as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing when lying flat
- Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness because you have less blood flowing to your organs and muscles, including your brain
- Fluid retention, particularly in your ankles, legs, and abdomen
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat as your heart tries to deliver enough blood to your body
Any of these symptoms can occur with heart failure.
How is heart failure diagnosed?
Dr. Alperovich conducts a thorough medical history and physical exam. He’ll review potential conditions you have, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes, or high blood pressure (hypertension) that may lead to heart failure.
You’ll also possibly undergo certain screening tests, including:
- Blood tests to evaluate organ function
- B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) blood test to evaluate a substance your heart produces in response to heart failure
- Echocardiogram to examine your heart’s movement and function and electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record your heart’s electrical impulses
- Ejection fraction to measure how well your heart pumps with each beat
- Chest X-ray to see the size of your heart and any possible fluid buildup
- Cardiac catheterization and stress test to evaluate for coronary artery disease
How is heart failure managed?
Dr. Alperovich helps you manage heart failure with medications and lifestyle changes. He carefully monitors you and makes adjustments to these strategies as needed to slow the progression of the condition. He does everything possible to help you lessen your symptoms, maintain a high quality of life, and avoid hospitalization.
To learn more about how Dr. Alperovich and the team at Advanced Cardiovascular & Vein Center can help manage your heart failure, call the office or schedule a consultation online today.