What is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious health condition in which the heart muscles lose their ability to pump blood efficiently. Often, this condition is also referred to as heart failure. However, congestive heart failure is a specific stage when the fluid builds around the heart leading to troubles in pumping. Typically, there are two types of congestive heart failure:
- Left-sided CHF: In this type of CHF, the left ventricle doesn't pump the blood out to the body. This is the most common type of CHF and can further be divided into systolic heart failure and diastolic failure.
- Right-sided CHF: This type of CHF occurs when your right ventricle cannot pump blood to the lungs properly.
In some cases, people can suffer from both left-sided CHF and right-sided CHF simultaneously.
Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
Congestive heart failure symptoms depend on the stage of the condition. Usually, people do not experience any symptoms at the first stage. Once the stage progresses, the signs begin to appear. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid retention in lungs leading to swelling in ankles, legs, and abdomen
- Weight gain
- Increased need to urinate
- Chest pain
Who is at Risk?
Several reasons may increase your chances of developing this serious condition. The common congestive heart failure risk factors are:
- Age: CHF is quite common in people of more than 65 years of age.
- Gender: Men are more prone to heart failure than women. However, when it comes to diastolic heart failure, it is more common in women.
- Family History: People having a family history of CHF are at higher risk.
- Diabetes: Those with diabetes can develop CHF, especially if they also have coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
- Obesity: People who are obese are more likely to develop CHF.
- Lifestyle factors: Habits such as smoking and drug abuse often lead to heart failure.
Congestive Heart Failure Causes
In most of the cases, reasons for congestive heart failure may be the result of some underlying health conditions. These common causes of congestive heart failure may include:
- Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary arteries restrict the blood flow that can lead to damage in the arteries.
- Hypertension: When your blood pressure becomes higher, it can lead to CHF.
- Other health conditions: Infections and health conditions in heart valves and other issues such as diabetes and thyroid can also cause CHF.
How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed?
Congestive heart failure diagnosis may include more than two tests to confirm the condition. Here is what you can expect:
- Physical Examination: The doctors will ask about the symptoms and do a physical valuation. They may also ask for your health history and lifestyle habits.
- Electrocardiogram: Also known as EKG or ECG, this test helps in recording the heart's rhythm.
- Echocardiogram: In this congestive heart failure test, the doctors use sound waves to check your heart's structure and motion.
- MRI: This test takes both still and moving pictures of the heart for properly diagnosing the damaged areas.
- Stress Test: For this test, you will be required to go through strenuous exercises. The doctors will check how your heart performs under different levels of stress.
- Blood Test: The doctors can ask for blood tests to check for infections or abnormal blood cells.
- Cardiac Catheterization: The doctors insert a small tube into the blood vessels to check for blockage of coronary arteries.
How Is Congestive Heart Failure Treated?
Congestive heart failure treatment is usually done through the following ways:
- Medication: Depending on factors such as age, CHF type, stage, and symptoms, you will be prescribed medicine for congestive heart failure.
- Surgeries: In case the medicines do not prove effective, the cardiologist recommends surgeries such as angioplasty to remove the blockage.
To find the best congestive heart failure doctor, visit our website or app. We, at Care.Fit, have a dedicated panel of experienced cardiologists that offer world-class treatment. You can also book an online appointment to avoid any hassle.
How Can Congestive Heart Failure Be Prevented?
Prevention of congestive heart failure is always better than later treatment. Here are some measures that can reduce your risk of developing the condition:
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
- Perform regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy body weight
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