Congestive Heart Failure Specialist

CardioVascular Institute of South Texas

Cardiologists located in Helotes, TX

Congestive heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working, but it does mean you need special care to stay healthy and happy. Cardiologists Tzy-Shiuan Kuo, MD, and Imam Tjahja, MD, diagnose and treat congestive heart failure at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas in Helotes, Texas. If you or a loved one has congestive heart failure, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Congestive Heart Failure Q & A

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure is a condition that occurs when your heart isn’t able to pump blood as well as it normally should. Heart failure may sound frightening, but it doesn’t mean your heart has or is about to stop working.

In one type of heart failure, called heart failure with preserved left ventricular function (HFpEF), the chambers of the heart don’t fill with enough blood. Another type happens when the muscles of your heart can’t pump blood with enough force to meet your body’s needs. This is called heart failure with reduced left ventricular function (HFrEF). You may suffer from one of these problems or both at the same time.

Who gets congestive heart failure?

Heart failure is a common problem that affects about 5.7 million adults in the United States. This condition is the leading cause of hospital stays for adults over age 65.

Medical conditions that overwork or damage the heart may lead to heart failure, including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Arrhythmia
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Previous heart attacks

Heart failure doesn’t only affect older adults. This condition may develop in children who have congenital heart defects.

What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?

Symptoms of heart failure may come on suddenly or be ongoing (chronic). Common congestive heart failure symptoms include:

  • Tiredness (fatigue) and weakness
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Swelling (edema) in your ankles, legs, feet, and abdomen

These symptoms result from fluid buildup in your body. This fluid buildup may also cause rapid weight gain, frequent urination, and a cough that may worsen when you’re lying down.

How is congestive heart failure diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose congestive heart failure, the team at the CardioVascular Institute of South Texas begins with a thorough physical exam and review of your symptoms and medical history. They may also conduct diagnostic tests such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cardiac CT scan
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Echocardiogram (echo)
  • Stress test

Once they diagnose your condition, your cardiologist develops a treatment plan to help you live a longer, more active life. Depending on the type and severity of your congestive heart failure, treatment may include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Quitting smoking
  • Medications to treat your specific symptoms

If your heart failure is related to an underlying problem, such as arrhythmia, your cardiologist may recommend a surgical procedure to correct it, such as getting a pacemaker.

To learn how you can maintain a vibrant, active lifestyle with congestive heart failure, call CardioVascular Institute of South Texas or book an appointment online today.