Heart Failure

Apopka Medical Center

Dean Behner, MD

Internal Medicine located in Apopka, FL

When your heart isn’t strong enough to move blood through your body efficiently, you have a condition known as heart failure. Heart failure is usually treatable with medications and lifestyle modifications. Dr. Dean Behner cares for patients with heart failure at Apopka Medical Center, in Apopka, Florida. If you need medical attention or help managing heart failure symptoms, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Heart Failure Q & A

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t able to move blood — and the essential oxygen and nutrients it carries — around your body efficiently. Contrary to the connotation of the word failure, this cardiovascular condition doesn’t mean that your heart is beyond repair or that it has stopped working. A more accurate description is that your heart can’t keep up with its workload.

When you have heart failure, your heart tries to compensate for its weakness by stretching to contract more strongly, so it becomes enlarged and pumps faster. All of these responses ultimately overtax your heart.

What are signs of heart failure?

Heart failure causes a number of symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Edema, a buildup of fluid that causes swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Confusion or impaired thinking
  • A rapid heart rate

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Behner to get checked out. If you experience chest pain, especially if it’s combined with any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency room.

What causes heart failure?

Your heart loses pumping ability as you get older, however, there are several lifestyle factors and other medical conditions that can lead to heart failure. For example, the same behaviors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke — being overweight, smoking, eating too much junk food, and not getting enough exercise — also contribute to your risk of heart failure.

There are also a variety of health conditions that contribute to your risk of heart failure including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • History of a heart attack
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Structural heart problems, such as malfunctioning valves

You can reduce your risk of heart failure by making healthy lifestyle choices, including avoiding cigarettes and tobacco products, following a healthy diet, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

How is heart failure treated?

Heart failure is a chronic condition that often causes irreversible damage to your heart. While there’s no cure, Dr. Behner offers treatments and medical advice to manage your symptoms, restore your health, and restore your quality of life.

The first step in treating heart failure is to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. If you smoke, it’s time to quit. You can also decrease or cut out your alcohol consumption, improve your diet, and get more physical activity.

Dr. Behner also prescribes medications to reduce stress on your heart and improve its function. If you need a surgical procedure to repair your heart, he has to admit privileges at local hospitals and works with your surgeon to coordinate postoperative care.

Call Apopka Medical Center or schedule an appointment online today for effective medical care to support your heart health.