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Some Heart Failure Glossary Terms:

Heart Failure
The heart’s inability to sufficiently fill with blood OR it’s inability to distribute a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body. Symptoms include shortness of breath, even when lying down, and general tiredness and weakness.

Medical term that refers to High Blood Pressure. Normal Blood Pressure (BP) is approximately 120/80 for healthy adults. Stage 1 High Blood Pressure is between 140/90-150/99. Stage 2 high Blood Pressure is 160/110+. (See Diastolic & Systolic).

Medical term that refers to Low Blood Pressure. Normal Blood Pressure (BP) is approximately 120/80 for healthy adults. (See Diastolic & Systolic).

Ischemic- A short-term lack of blood flow through an artery or throughout the circulation. When linked to Heart Failure there is an insufficient amount of oxygen and blood to meets the demands of the heart muscle.

Left Atrium
The left upper chamber of the heart. The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs through the pulmonary veins.

Left Ventricle
The left lower chamber of the heart that receives blood from the left atrium and pumps it into the circulation through the aorta.

A wound or injury. There are many types of lesions. They are generally categorized by size and cause. When associated with heart failure, lesions may refer to damage to the heart muscle or valves.

Minimally Invasive
Utilization of small incisions, ports, or needles to gain access to various areas of the body to perform surgical procedures.

MRI-(Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Uses powerful magnetic fields to create images of tissues and organs. During an MRI the patient is laid flat on their back and placed in a human sized tunnel with earphones (to drown out the loud noise, but there is no discomfort or physical stress associated with the test)) and instructed to lie perfectly still. An average MRI takes approximately 30-90 minutes, depending on the area of the body being imaged. A patient that has any metal from previous surgical procedures (As placement of pins or shrapnel) in their system should not take an MRI.

To supply with oxygen.

When related to Atrial Fibrillation, a recurrent or intensification of the disease, it is self-terminating and usually lasts less than a week.

See Heart Failure Glossary


By Sheryl McCormick

In today’s society it seems that there are never enough hours in the day. Trying to raise a family, maintaining relationships, extracurricular activities, and the high demands of work, have made us an exhausted society. While people may believe that fatigue is normal, it can be a symptom of Heart Failure.

Performing everyday tasks and responsibilities are very simple for most of us. However, those suffering from Heart Failure can experience difficulty while performing common activities such as walking, shopping, bending over or even resting because of extreme fatigue and/or shortness of breath.

Not eating properly and/or not exercising regularly can make you very tired and weak, but so can Heart Failure. Being overworked or depressed can make a person tired or give them a general feeling of weakness, but so can Heart Failure. Even lack of concentration or awareness has been associated with Heart Failure. Performing life’s everyday responsibilities as mentioned above, may make a person think that it is normal to feel extremely tired or even depressed. While that may be true, Heart Failure can be creeping up on someone at the same time. Therefore, people experiencing fatigue may not realize that they are in the early stages of Heart Failure.

In some cases, Heart Failure can cause unusual shortness of breath. It is obvious that if you are exerting yourself (by working out or walking quickly) your breathing may become labored. But if you are doing simple things like bending over, bathing, or resting, and experience shortness of breath, this can be an early indication.

While common sense dictates that over exertion will cause fatigue, a lot of us don’t realize that we can also become tired in our sleep. If you have trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath (dyspnea), you could be suffering from inadequate cardiac output.

There are a few physical signs that may indicate Heart Failure. Fluid retention, which causes weight gain and possible swelling of the feet, ankles, or even abdomen, is associated with the disease. Another physical sign is bulging of the neck veins. When the pulmonary veins aren’t functioning as they should, an insufficient supply of blood is making it to the heart, thus causing fluid to build up in the arteries and body tissues (edema).

When the heart isn’t strong enough to pump an adequate supply of blood throughout the entire body, the first areas that receive blood are the heart and the brain. Other, less vital organs (the kidneys or the digestive system) don’t receive the amount of blood they require to function properly. This can result in less urine production, the need to urinate at night, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting. If a person feels full even when they haven’t eaten, the digestive system is not working properly due to lack of blood supply.

A lot of the symptoms of Heart Failure are intertwined with life’s ups and downs, which can make personal detection very difficult. Obviously, once a person becomes properly diagnosed with Heart Failure, the symptoms become easier to recognize and monitor due to awareness. However, Heart Failure can creep up on someone who is not aware of the signs.

Early detection is the key to properly handling Heart Failure. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the aforementioned signs or symptoms, please consult a physician for proper diagnosis.

See also:

Causes of Heart Failure

Classifications of Heart Failure

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The Heart Failure Center does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The contents of The Heart Failure Center Site ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any symptoms you may have. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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