Last updated:10-15-2008
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Definition and cause

The heart pumps blood regularly from the body organs. The heart is divided into two halves heart (right and left) with a heart on each side, each with a pre-chamber.

The right side of the heart receives the afiltede blood from the veins and pumps it out to the small blood circulation in the lungs. Here are the blood saturated with oxygen, and it returned to the cardiac left side. Left heart pumps blood out to the rest of the body and provide it with oxygen.

When the heart of one reason or another is unable to pump enough oxygen and nutrients to other organs, they talk about heart failure or heart failure. It is not the same as cardiac arrest, where the heart pumping function has ceased.

Heart failure can be caused by various diseases, the most important being:

  • Myocardial infarction. Parts of the heart muscle dies, and functions.

  • Errors in cardiac muscle(cardiomyopathy). The heart may be too thick, too lax or too rigid, preventing it from pumping properly. See Enlarged hearts.

  • Arteriosclerosis of the coronary artery pulse years. Are there not enough oxygen to the heart muscle cells, they can not operate optimally.

  • Cardiac Failure. Narrowed or leaking heart valves, increases cardiac load and may lead to failure.

  • High blood pressure. Should the heart to work too much resistance, the work can eventually become too great, and it fails

  • Heart rhythm disorder. Deducting the heart muscle is not together properly, the heart can not perform its pumping function satisfactory.

  • Elevated metabolism(hyperthyroidism). An elevated substance found gives high blood pressure and burden due to increased heart rate and pumping strength.

  • Congenital heart disease.

  • Smoker Lungs(COPD). Will the lungs stiff, it can increase blood pressure in the lungs, so the heart must pump against a bigger opposition. This may help heart failure.

  • Severe anemia. If the blood is unable to carry oxygen properly, forcing the heart to pump extra, and the burden it.

  • Pregnancy. Blood pressure often rises during pregnancy, and by the extra strain on your body, can an already weak heart a few problems.

Heart failure can be grouped in different ways. The distinction between whether the condition isChronicIe. occurs over a long period of illness, or whether it isacutearose.

A heart failure can beright sidedorleft, Depending on the chambers of the heart that are causing the pump failed. There is often a combination of right and left heart failure.

By ventresidigt failure, blood will accumulate in the lungs, and right sided failure seen blood accumulation in the body's veins, most evident in the legs (see symptoms).

When the heart is not pumping properly recorded, inter alia in the kidneys. They respond by keeping the water and salt in the body. It increases blood volume, and hence blood pressure. This is a time of increasing blodtilførselen the body organs, but the heart is strained even more burdened by the increased blood volume, and it can become a vicious circle.

Symptoms of heart failure

The symptoms appear differently depending on whether they are right or left heart failure. The chronic heart failure turns out gradually, while the acute may have a very serious process.

Congestive heart failure
The largest proportion (about 75%) due to ischemic heart disease. This group of diseases including coronary disease and other diseases where there is lack of oxygen in the heart muscle (see heart spasm), for example. may be a result of arteriosclerosis of coronary heart rate years.
High blood pressure is also to blame for a large share.

  • The main symptom isshortness of breath. The pressure from the accumulated blood in the heart propagate back to the lungs, the blood pressure rises here. There is a fluid leakage (edema), and it gives poor breathing, which in the beginning mainly seen in physical or mental strain. Most will see it in the evening after a working day, and shortness of breath periods at night makes that many are forced to sleep sitting up or with many pillows under his head.

  • In severe casesPulmonary edemabe very serious and life-threatening. There can be seen fråde on the mouth and cough with blodtilblanding

  • One can seedry cough and spasms in the airways, Called cardiac-related asthma. However, this has nothing to do with traditional asthma, and should be treated quite differently.

  • Fatigue. Due to decreased blood flow of muscles

  • Lack of urinationseen in advanced stages. Kidneys detain salt and liquid in an attempt to get the circulation going again.

  • In the elderly, who are sometimes seenconfusion, As a symptom of reduced brain blood flow.

  • There can be seenright sided heart failure, With associated symptoms.

The sick will be generally included, and skin seen cold and pale. There may be blåfarvning of nails and lips, due to lack of oxygen.

The acute left sided heart failure is a life-threatening condition, and can prove by cardiogenic shock or cardiogenic pulmonary edema and released most of a myocardial infarction.

Right sided heart failure:
The symptoms are characterized by the underlying disease. Most often congestive heart failure cause, while the unilateral right sided heart failure most often caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The blood accumulates in the right side of the heart, and subsequent years of blood in the body (veins).

  • There isshortness of breath and fatigue.

  • It can be seenvenestase(blood accumulation) of the veins in the neck.

  • The increased pressure in the veins will strain the body's smallest blood vessels and fluid squeezed out of the body's tissues. It appears so-calledEdema. Most clearly seen in the legs, and it turns out by swollen ankles and feet, and in severe cases, swelling of the purse. In bedridden seen edema on the lower-lying parts of the body (shoulder lot korsben and heels).

  • Venestase in the legs can give fragile skin on their feet, and there can be formedeczema(staseeksem). There may be problems withulceration(venous leg ulcer) and poor healing.

  • In severe casesliver swell(leverstase), and give pain from the upper right part of the stomach. It may, in the worst cases,cirrhosis(cirrhosis).

  • There may comeleakage of free fluid in the abdominal cavity(ascites).

Acute right sided heart failure due to frequent apulmonary embolism.


Main precaution is to live in a way that minimizes the risk of developing arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.

It is especially important:

  • To stop smoking.

  • To exercise.

  • Eating green, coarse and low fat meals.

Read more in the above-mentioned diseases and Atherosclerosis Prevention.

Monday experiencing symptoms of progressive shortness of breath, or a tendency to swollen legs, it is important to consult a doctor. The sooner action is taken against the disease, the better the chances of holding back development, and the better the

Related articles:

Arteriosclerosis (artery and atherosclerosis)
Calcification of the coronary arteries
Heart attack (myocardial infarction, acute myocardial infarction, AMI)
Heart failure (Heart Failure)
Heart pain (angina)
High blood pressure (Hypertonia, hypertension, high blood pressure)



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