Congestive heart failure

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Congestive heart failure isn't a heart attack, but is the result of damage to the heart muscle often arising from a heart attack, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, hardening of the arteries, rheumatic fever, or high blood pressure in the lungs resulting from lung disease. The injured heart muscle is unable to pump strongly enough to maintain normal blood circulation, and blood backs up behind the heart. Symptoms of congestive heart failure include swelling, most often in the legs and ankles, and difficulty in breathing. Congestive heart failure also affects the kidney's ability to dispose of sodium and water, and this leads to further swelling. The treatment for congestive heart failure generally includes rest, proper diet, drug therapy, and modified daily activities. In some cases, surgery might be needed, as in congestive heart failure caused by a diseased heart valve. For more information on congestive heart failure, talk with your health care provider.

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