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Congestive heart failure (CHF) can affect many organs of the body. For example, the weakened heart muscles may not be able to supply enough blood to the kidneys, which then begin to lose their normal ability to excrete salt (sodium) and water. This diminished kidney function can cause the body to retain more fluid. The lungs may become congested with fluid (pulmonary edema) and the person's ability to exercise is decreased. Fluid may likewise accumulate in the liver, thereby impairing its ability to rid the body of toxins and produce essential proteins. The intestines may become less efficient in absorbing nutrients and medicines. Over time, untreated congestive heart failure will affect virtually every organ in the body. The lack of blood flow to the heart can lead to irreversible damage to the heart muscle.
Chest pain (angina) is an indicator of a heart attack (myocardial infarction). A heart attack can cause sudden death.
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