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Heart Failure Specialist

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan

Board Certified Internal Medicine Physicians & Board Certified Pediatricians located in Grand Rapids, MI

Heart failure is a condition that can cause serious health problems and lead to emergencies like heart attacks. At Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the highly experienced team members diagnose and treat heart failure to improve your overall health and prevent potentially life-threatening events. Call Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Heart Failure Q&A

What is heart failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a problem where your heart isn’t pumping with enough strength to circulate your blood effectively. It usually means there’s damage to your heart that’s making the muscle stiffer or too weak to pump or fill with blood.

Having heart failure isn’t a crisis like a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Heart failure is what happens before you have a potentially life-threatening experience.

Heart failure often develops slowly, in which case it’s known as chronic heart failure. If it develops in a short space of time, it’s known as acute heart failure.


What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Blood-tinged phlegm
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Problems concentrating
  • Fluid retention

You might also experience angina (chest pain). As this could also mean you’re having a heart attack, you should always get emergency medical attention if you have unexplained chest pain.


What causes heart failure?

There are numerous possible causes of heart failure. Many involve problems with the arteries that result in reduced blood flow. The two most common causes of heart failure are high blood pressure (hypertension) and coronary artery disease (CAD).

Other possible causes of heart failure include faulty heart valves, cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle), myocarditis (inflamed heart muscle), congenital heart defects, and heart arrhythmias (abnormal rhythms).

Both chronic diseases and acute health problems can cause heart failure, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • HIV
  • Heart infection
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Allergic reaction
  • Medication side effects

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are likely to bring on or worsen heart failure.


How is heart failure treated?

With expert management and care from the Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan team, you can improve the health of your heart and reduce the risk of experiencing a serious cardiac event like a heart attack.

Your provider can help you make any necessary changes to your lifestyle, which are fundamental to good heart health. Changes you might need to make include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Having a healthier diet
  • Getting more exercise
  • Managing stress

These are also essential for managing underlying conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart failure.

You might need to take medication as well to regulate your heart function. These include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta-blockers, statins, blood thinners, diuretics, aldosterone antagonists, inotropes, digoxin (digitalis), and nitrates.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of heart failure or you have any concerns about your heart health, call Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan today or book an appointment online.