Congestive heart failure (chf)

Chest | Cardiology | Congestive heart failure (chf) (Disease)


Congestive heart failure, also known as CHF or heart failure, is a complex and serious disease in which the heart muscle has been damaged or has to work too hard because of heart disease and other conditions, such as obesity. Although the heart continues to beat, the damaged heart muscle is too weak to efficiently pump enough oxygen-rich blood to and from the body, resulting in potentially life-threatening congestion in the lungs and other tissues of the body.

Heart failure is often classified as either systolic or diastolic.

(1) Systolic heart failure means that your heart muscle cannot pump, or eject, the blood out of the heart very well.

(2) Diastolic heart failure means that your hearts pumping chamber does not fill up with blood.

The major factors that contribute to coronary heart disease include: obesity, a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity.

Symptoms of congestive heart failure include:

(1) Undue breathlessness during activity

(2) Breathlessness at rest or during light exercise

(3) Muscular fatigue, tiredness

(4) Swelling of ankles or legs

(5) Swelling of abdomen

(6) Unexplained coughing and wheezing.

Causes and Risk factors

Congestive heart failure is present when the heart cannot pump enough blood to fulfill the needs of the body. Weakened chambers allow blood to pool inside the heart and nearby veins. This triggers fluid retention, particularly in the lungs, legs and abdomen.

Left sided heart failure results in fluid backing up into the lungs causing pulmonary edema and breathing problems, and right heart failure produces fluid in the legs (edema) and the abdomen (ascites). Congestive heart failure (CHF) can have many causes with the most common being high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attacks, viral heart infections (myocarditis), congenital heart defects, and valvular heart disease. Patients with known CHF can experience worsening symptoms if they eat too much salt, stop taking their medications or have another co-existing illness such as pneumonia.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An echocardiogram (echo) is most of the time the best test to diagnose and monitor your heart failure. Tee doctor will use it as to guide the treatment of the patient. A patient with heart failure will be monitored closely by the doctor. Several medicines treat the heart failure. ...

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