Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure (CHF), occurs when your heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. Conditions such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently.

Not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be reversed, but treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and help you live longer. Lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing salt in your diet, managing stress and especially losing weight, can improve your quality of life.

The best way to prevent heart failure is to control conditions that cause heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.

Aug. 16, 2013