Heart failure means that your heart is not working correctly.
The main job of your heart is to pump blood to your body. It is
like a pump that pumps water out of a pool. If the pump is weak,
not all of the water can be removed. Some of the water stays in the
When your heart is weak, it can't pump the blood as well as it
should. Parts of your body can hold extra fluid that isn't being
moved very well by your heart.
Fluid build-up in your lungs can cause shortness of breath when
you walk, go up stairs or lie down. Fluid build-up in your stomach
can cause upset stomach after eating, bloating or swelling.
There are two types of heart failure:
In both cases, your heart isn't pumping enough oxygen-rich
blood, and fluid is backing up in your lungs and stomach.
There are a lot of causes of heart failure. Some of the common
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition, 1-931876-31-2
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts