NJ Heart & Vascular Care
Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Board Certified Cardiologist & Cardiovascular Physician located in Princeton, NJ & Hamilton Square, NJ
Heart failure may sound devastating, but it’s actually a progressive condition in which your heart doesn’t work as well as it should. When caught early, a cardiovascular specialist like Kintur Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, of NJ Heart & Vascular Care can help you manage the condition successfully so you can avoid a life-threatening heart attack and continue to lead an enjoyable, full life. Call the Princeton and Hamilton, New Jersey, offices to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today if you’re at risk of heart failure or have concerning symptoms.
Heart Failure Q & A
What is congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure is diagnosed when your heart fails to pump blood as efficiently as it should. This progressive condition means your heart can’t meet your body’s basic needs for blood and oxygen.
Your body compensates for your failing heart by enlarging the heart, increasing the heart’s muscle mass, and having it pump faster. Your blood vessels may narrow and divert blood away from less important tissues and organs.
These compensatory factors mean you may not experience symptoms of heart failure right away. But with time, heart failure worsens, and you start to notice a physical decline.
Is shortness of breath the only symptom of heart failure?
Shortness of breath while active or even just laying down is a symptom of heart failure. It can indicate a blocked heart artery, inefficiency of your heart’s function as a pump, or indicate valvular or structural heart disease.
While shortness of breath is a common symptom, you may notice other issues like:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Coughing and producing blood-tinged mucus
- Abdominal swelling
- Fluid retention or leg edema
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Difficulties concentrating
Many of these symptoms don’t show up until years after your heart starts to decline. This is why it’s important to have regular exams, especially if you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors.
What causes congestive heart failure?
Coronary artery disease is a major cause of congestive heart failure. This condition limits blood flow to your heart due to plaques made up of cholesterol and other waste products that clog your arteries.
Other possible causes of heart failure include:
- High blood pressure, including diastolic and systolic dysfunction
- Valvular heart disease
- Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
- Cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle)
- Myocarditis (inflamed heart muscle)
- Congenital heart defects
Dr. Sanghvi is skilled at helping you manage all of these aspects of heart disease.
Your risk of congestive heart failure is also elevated if you smoke or drink alcohol excessively or have a chronic condition like thyroid disease, HIV, or diabetes.
How is congestive heart failure treated?
Heart failure is a chronic condition and can’t be cured. Dr. Sanghvi can help you manage the condition and avoid complications with certain medications like:
- ACE inhibitors
- Blood thinners
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Aldosterone antagonists
Surgical procedures and device implants are interventions Dr. Sanghvi may also use to help you manage your condition. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and improving your diet, are also recommended.
If you have risk factors for heart failure or are experiencing any concerning symptoms, call NJ Heart & Vascular Care or book an appointment online to have your heart evaluated today.