Heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. This is usually the result of a weakened heart due to conditions or diseases that have damaged the heart muscle. Most often, these conditions weaken your heart gradually, over a long period of time. Here’s a summary of how heart failure can develop and progress.
- Conditions or diseases effecting your heart weaken the heart muscle
- Your heart cannot pump efficiently
- In response, your body attempts to compensate for your heart’s pumping by:
- Increasing hormonal stimulation to the heart
- Increasing heartbeat
- Enlarging the heart; your heart chambers stretch and enlarge to increase muscle mass
- At first, these adaptations with continue normal heart functions. However, they will eventually make matter worse by placing extra strain on your heart.
- Your heart muscle will eventually wear itself out and become less efficient at pumping a healthy amount of blood. At this point, heart failure symptoms may being or increase.
Poor Squeeze vs. Poor Relaxation
There are two reasons for heart failure:
- Your heart is not pumping effectively – you have “poor squeeze,” or systolic heart failure.
- Your muscle walls have stiffened, failing to allow your heart to completely relax and fill up with enough blood between contractions. This condition is called diastolic heart failure.
Both types of heart failure occur when your heart is unable to deliver an adequate amount of blood to your body. This can effect major organ function and produce a variety of symptoms experienced throughout your body.