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Our Services / Congestive Heart Failure

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About Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure occurs because your heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood around your body in the required volumes. If you have symptoms of congestive heart failure, the expert team at Southern New Hampshire Internal Medicine can help. They provide advanced diagnostic and treatment services at their locations in Derry, Windham, and Bedford, New Hampshire. Find out how you can optimize your health when you have congestive heart failure by calling the office nearest you today or booking an appointment online.

Congestive Heart Failure Q & A

What is congestive heart failure?

If you have congestive heart failure, it means your heart can't pump blood around your cardiovascular system properly. The condition develops when your heart muscle, which powers the pumping action, becomes damaged, stiff, or weak.

You can function with congestive heart failure for some time. Eventually, though, your heart muscle deteriorates to a point where it can't pump or fill at all, with the outcome being a potentially life-threatening myocardial infarction (heart attack) or even cardiac arrest.

What symptoms might congestive heart failure cause?

Congestive heart failure can cause symptoms such as:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • A cough that produces blood-tinged mucus
  • Ascites (abdominal swelling)
  • Nausea and appetite loss
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Shortness of breath

You're likely to be particularly aware of being short of breath during physical activities or when you lie down.

What are the causes of congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure most often results from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD affects the arteries delivering blood to your heart when plaque (a substance containing cholesterol and waste products) sticks to the lining of the arteries and restricts blood flow.

Congestive heart failure can also be due to or made worse by:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle)
  • Myocarditis (inflamed heart muscle)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Some people suffer sudden congestive heart failure, which is likely to result from a pulmonary embolism, heart infection, side effects of certain medications, or an allergic reaction.

How is congestive heart failure diagnosed?

Southern New Hampshire Internal Medicine offers many noninvasive procedures to evaluate your cardiovascular health at its Derry location, in partnership with Derry Imaging and the New England Heart Institute.

Some of the services the cardiology specialists provide include 24-hour Holter monitoring, stress testing, nuclear scans, and echocardiography (heart ultrasound). These cutting-edge technologies help to determine the cause of your congestive heart failure symptoms without the need for surgical procedures.

What treatment might I need for congestive heart failure?

You might need to take medications for congestive heart failure, such as:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Statins
  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Inotropes
  • Digoxin (digitalis)
  • Nitrates

The Southern New Hampshire Internal Medicine team refers you to a cardiologist for any specialist treatment you require, such as balloon angioplasty or pacemaker implantation. They also offer comprehensive care management for patients with chronic conditions like congestive heart failure.

If you've been experiencing symptoms of congestive heart failure, call Southern New Hampshire Internal Medicine today or book an appointment online.