Congestive heart failure (CHF), or heart failure, is a condition in which the heart is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body and/or unable to prevent blood from accumulating, or "backing up," into the lungs.
In most cases, CHF is a process that occurs over time, when an underlying condition damages the heart or makes it work too hard, weakening the organ. Health conditions that may lead to CHF include: coronary artery disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), or arrhythmias.
Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath and abnormal fluid retention, which usually results in swelling in the feet and legs.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly five million individuals experience heart failure and about 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Heart failure becomes more prevalent with age and the number of cases is expected to grow as the overall age of the population increases.
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