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Understanding and Managing Chronic Heart Failure

Understanding and Managing CHRONIC HEART FAILURE • Inflammation of the heart muscle. A virus can cause the heart muscle to become inflamed and weakened, a condition called myocarditis. • Congenital heart defects. Some people are born with heart defects, where the heart’s chambers or valves haven’t formed correctly. This, too, can cause the heart to work harder to pump blood, leading eventually to heart failure unless corrected. • Arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm, which typically causes the heart to beat too fast or beat chaotically. Either way, the heart has to work harder, which can weaken it over time, leading to heart failure. • Elevated heart rate: A persistently higher heart rate is itself a risk factor for chronic heart failure. One study found that patients with a resting heart rate above 87 beats per minute (bpm) had a more than twofold-increased risk of re-hospitalization or death than those with a lower heart rate (70-72 bpm). • Severe lung disease. The heart has to work harder when the lungs don’t function as they should. Over time, the heart can become weakened, leading to heart failure. • Diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn’t make insulin at all, or makes too little for what the body needs, or the body can’t use the insulin it’s making. The result is the cells don’t get the blood glucose (sugar) they need to perform their functions, and glucose builds up to high levels in the bloodstream. This can cause a host of health problems if left untreated, including eventually heart failure. Having any of these conditions is considered a risk factor for getting chronic heart failure, and having more than one further increases your risk. QUIZ 1 YouÕre making great progress! Take a short quiz on what youÕve learned so far. 6


Understanding and Managing Chronic Heart Failure
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