Neon sign with a red heart in a brothel next to a neon green cross of a pharmacy on a dark, snowy Moscow street.

Cardiac Insufficiency

In heart fail­ure, the heart is unable to pump enough blood around the body to pro­vi­de an ade­qua­te sup­p­ly of oxy­gen. Around 300 women and around 380 men out of every 100,000 peo­p­le in Ger­ma­ny fall ill every year, on avera­ge bet­ween the ages of 70 and 80.
Depen­ding on the half of the heart, a distinc­tion is made bet­ween right and left heart fail­ure, each with typi­cal sym­ptoms, or glo­bal fail­ure, with two heart val­ves affec­ted. A distinc­tion is also made bet­ween acu­te and chro­nic heart fail­ure, which occurs eit­her spon­ta­neous­ly or over seve­ral months and years.


If the heart is no lon­ger able to pump enough blood through the body to pro­vi­de ade­qua­te oxy­gen sup­p­ly, this is usual­ly due to the fol­lo­wing cau­ses, which occur more fre­quent­ly in older peo­p­le or tho­se who are alre­a­dy under stress:

  • high blood pressure
  • Arte­rios­cle­ro­sis of the coro­na­ry arteries
  • kid­ney problems
  • Dise­a­se or inflamm­a­ti­on of the heart muscle
  • car­diac arrhythmia
  • kid­ney problems
  • meta­bo­lic diseases
  • lea­king heart valves
  • anemia


It is cha­rac­te­ri­zed by the asso­cia­ted fati­gue and addi­tio­nal stress when per­forming ever­y­day tasks. Spe­ci­fic sym­ptoms often depend on whe­ther the insuf­fi­ci­en­cy is acu­te or chro­nic and include the fol­lo­wing symptoms:

  • Cough
  • short­ness of breath
  • fati­gue
  • fast heart­beat
  • blue lips and/or fingers
  • sweats
  • pale skin
  • flu­id retention
  • urge to urinate
  • weight gain


Dia­gno­sis based on medi­cal histo­ry and phy­si­cal exami­na­ti­on are the best tools for dia­gno­sing heart fail­ure, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in con­junc­tion with an ultra­sound of the heart (echo­car­dio­gra­phy).

In addi­ti­on, X‑rays of the chest can pro­vi­de infor­ma­ti­on about the accu­mu­la­ti­on of flu­id in the lungs and the size of the heart. An elec­tro­car­dio­gram (ECG) and blood tests are other dia­gno­stic tools.


Drugs are used to regu­la­te blood pres­su­re, heart rate and the amount of flu­id in the body. If neces­sa­ry, sick peo­p­le are advi­sed to drink less.

A pace­ma­ker can be sur­gi­cal­ly implanted.

Sport is ano­ther means, depen­ding on the dia­gno­sis, to streng­then the heart.

Phy­si­cal trai­ning exer­ci­s­es may be recom­men­ded to keep the heart func­tio­ning pro­per­ly. If the heart deve­lo­ps an irre­gu­lar rhythm, a pace­ma­ker can help nor­ma­li­ze the heart­beat and impro­ve blood circulation.

It is not yet pos­si­ble to cure chro­nic heart failure.


Alt­hough the­re is no cure for chro­nic heart fail­ure, the sym­ptoms are manageable.


Avo­i­ding pre-exis­ting con­di­ti­ons and lea­ding a healt­hy, balan­ced life­style are the best ways to pre­vent heart fail­ure. Regu­lar phy­si­cal acti­vi­ty, avo­id­ance of obe­si­ty and abs­ti­nence from tob­ac­co use are cen­tral com­pon­ents of ade­qua­te pre­ven­ti­ve care.

If you suf­fer from heart fail­ure and want to enjoy a gent­le diet, you will find a deli­cious sel­ec­tion of sui­ta­ble dis­hes at

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