Diastolic heart failure is far more prevalent in females and is characterized by an inability of the ventricles to adequately fill with enough blood volume. This decrease in stroke volume released into circulations will lead to decreased tissue perfusion throughout the body. The ventricles’ inability to properly fill is due to a decrease in the size of the chamber due to an enlargement in thickness of the myocardium in an attempt to push more blood from the heart (Lehne, 2010). The thickness causes the ventricles to become stiffer and not expand properly for filling. Diastolic HF essentially causes the blood to not be able to pump as much blood and causes back up of fluid into the atria and eventually the lungs, causing pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema can, in turn, cause peripheral edema. Obesity can also play a role due to the fact that there is an increase in vasculature feeding this increase in body mass and the heart cannot adequately supply it with blood (Mayo Clinic, 2011). The heart is able to pump normally, but has less volume of blood to push out.
Heart failure causes the body to react with compensatory mechanisms to counteract the heart’s reduced cardiac output. These responses are activated to help the body cope, but essentially