Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart failure, commonly known as heart failure, is a condition where your heart works less efficiently. Heart failure does not indicate the heart has stopped working. Instead, due to various causes, the heart's pumping power reduces, making it unable to maintain the body's demand for oxygen and nutrients.

Congestive heart failure is a severe and life-threatening condition where the heart muscle walls weaken. Eventually, fluid will fill the lungs, and kidneys will not receive sufficient blood, leading to kidney failure.

What causes Congestive Heart Failure?

Heart failure is caused by numerous risk factors that damage the heart muscles. It can also be caused due to stiffness in the arteries that restricts blood flow. The risk factors that will possibly lead to Congestive Heart Failure include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Heavy alcohol use

  • Faulty muscle inflammation

  • Coronary artery disease

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

There are chances that you may not notice any symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or severe, constant or inconsistent. Here are a few symptoms that are commonly seen:

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Swollen ankles, legs, abdomen

  • Dizziness

  • Wheezing

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Chest pain

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

There are various tests to diagnose heart failure. Considering your symptoms, medical history, family medical history, a physical exam will be conducted to determine the cause of congestive heart failure. The diagnostic tests include:

  • Electrocardiogram

  • Blood tests

  • Chest x-ray

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)

  • Stress test

  • Cardiac catheterization

  • BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) blood test

Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure treatment depends on the patient's condition. The goal of the treatment is to stabilize the patient's condition, ease the symptoms and improve their lifestyle. The following are the treatments, which can vary depending on the patient's condition:

  • Medications

  • Lifestyle changes

  • Surgical procedures

  • Pacemakers

  • Implanted defibrillators

  • Palliative care

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