Congestive heart failure is a progressive condition in which heart muscles are not able to pump efficiently to meet the requirements of the body. The condition develops when the ventricles are not able to pump sufficient blood as required by the body. After some time, blood and other fluids can accumulate inside the abdomen, liver, lungs, and lower body. Congestive heart failure can happen due to various conditions that can make your heart weak including high blood pressure, congenital heart disease, heart attack, and damage or inflammation in the heart muscle. Some of the possible symptoms of congestive heart failure are edema, breath shortness, tiredness, and reduced exercising capacity. The problem of congestive heart failure can be treated by making some changes in lifestyle, medicines, mechanical therapies, and heart transplantation. You should reach out to the best doctor as soon as you experience the symptoms of congestive heart failure. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and some laboratory tests as per the requirement to diagnose. This condition can get worse if not treated properly or left untreated.
In the early stage of congestive heart failure, people generally do not experience the symptoms. As the condition progresses, people experience some changes in their body. Check out the various symptoms or signs of congestive heart failure at different stages:
- The symptoms that are generally experienced when it is the start of congestive heart failure are gain in the weight, swelling in legs, ankles, and feet, and feeling a need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
- Irregular heartbeat, wheezing, breath shortness which can be due to pulmonary edema, and a cough due to congested lungs are some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure experienced by people when their condition gets worse.
- When people have a severe congestive heart failure problem then they may experience rapid breathing, fainting, a pain in the chest that radiates through the upper body, and blue skin due to a lack of oxygen in the lungs. A pain in the chest that radiates through the upper body can be a symptom of heart attack. If you are experiencing all these conditions then you seek medical help.
- It is not easy to discover heart failure congestion in young children and infants. The may experience various symptoms including a difficulty in breathing, poor feeding, and excessive sweating.
A lot of factors can be responsible for affecting the efficiency of your heart to pump the blood leading to congestive heart failure. All the conditions which can make your heart weak can cause congestive heart failure. Check out some of the common causes of congestive heart failure:
- High blood pressure or hypertension is the possible cause of congestive heart failure.
- Longstanding alcohol consumption can lead to heart failure.
- Coronary artery disease or ischemic heart disease can result in congestive heart failure.
- Congenital heart disease, heart attack, and damage or inflammation in the heart muscles are some of the other causes of congestive heart failure.
- Thyroid disorders, heart rhythm disorders, and viral infections of the hardening of the heart muscle are some of the less common causes.
- There are certain medicines that can lead to congestive heart failure. Sometimes, medicines can also make your situation of congestive heart failure worse. These medicines include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen (Aleve and more) and ibuprofen (Motrin and more), some steroids, certain calcium channel blockers, and some medicines for diabetes type 2 including such as pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia).
You should reach out to a doctor as soon as you experience the symptoms of congestive heart failure. Your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist or heart specialist. Your cardiologist will conduct a physical examination in which your heart will be listened by using a stethoscope in order to detect abnormal rhythms of the heart. Your cardiologist may ask you to get some diagnostic tests done to check your chambers, blood vessels, and heart’s valves. Check out various diagnostic tests that are required to confirm an initial diagnosis:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This test is done to record the rhythm of your heart. If your doctor finds out that there are abnormalities in the rhythm of your heart including irregular rhythm or rapid heartbeat then it indicates that the heart chamber walls are thicker than they are. It is a sign of a heart attack.
- Echocardiogram: In this, sound waves are used to record the motion and structure of your heart. This test will help to find out if there is a poor flow of the blood, a muscle of heart that is not contracting normally, or damage to the muscle.
- Magnetic resonance imaging: In an MRI, the moving and still pictures of your heart are taken. It helps your doctor to know if there is any damage to your heart.
- Stress tests: In stress tests, it is checked how your heart works when a stress is given. The problems are diagnosed by your doctor by giving some stress to your heart.
- Blood test: It is conducted to check for infections and abnormal blood cells. The level of brain natriuretic peptide or BNP can also be checked with the help of a blood test. Due to congestive heart failure, BNP hormone rises.
- Cardiac catheterization: Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic procedure in which a catheter is inserted into a chamber or vessel of your heart. It helps to know if there are blockages in the coronary arteries. Simultaneously, your doctor can also take the sample of your blood, check the flow of your blood, check the pressure in your chambers, and use X-rays to have a look at coronary arteries.
Check out various ways that will help you to reduce or delay the risk of congestive heart failure:
- You should avoid smoking or if you are not able to quit smoking then you should contact your doctor to suggest some ways that will help you to avoid smoking. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.
- You should have heart-healthy food items such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The dairy products that you consume should be fat-free or low-fat. You should avoid refined grains, solid fats, salt or sodium, and added sugars.
- You should involve yourself in swimming, bicycling, and walking. If you do not like to do physical exercises alone then you should join a gym or fitness centre.
- Overweight and obesity can lead to heart problems so you should watch your weight closely. You should do physical exercises regularly and follow a healthy diet.
- You avoid or reduce the consumption of alcohol. Illegal drugs should also be avoided. You should always take prescribed medicines as per the instructions that are given by your doctor.
Your doctor may recommend you different treatment options depending on your health and your stage of heart failure.
- Congestive heart failure drugs: Your doctor may prescribe you certain medicines to treat congestive heart failure:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: These are used to open the blood vessels which are narrow to improve the flow of the blood. If you cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors then vasodilators are another option for you. ACE inhibitors can have adverse effects if taken with some medicines so you should take talk to your doctor if you are taking them with medicines including thiazide diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and potassium-sparing diuretics. Some examples of ACE inhibitors are moexipril (Univasc), lisinopril (Zestril), captopril (Capoten), quinapril (Accupril), and perindopril (Aceon).
- Beta-blockers: You can have beta blockers to reduce your blood pressure and slow the rhythm of your heart. Some of the beta-blockers are metoprolol (Lopressor), bisoprolol (Zebeta), nadolol (Corgard), acebutolol (Sectral), and nebivolol (Bystolic). You should be cautious when taking beta-blockers with certain medicines including antiarrhythmic medications, Fentora (Fentanyl), antipsychotics, antihypertensive medications, and more as they have an adverse reaction.
- Diuretics: Diuretics are taken to reduce the fluid content of your body. Due to congestive heart failure, more fluid retains in your body than normal. Your doctor may recommend you to have thiazide diuretics such as metolazone (Zaroxolyn), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and indapamide (Lozol), loop diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix), torsemide (Demadex), and ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), and potassium-sparing diuretics such as triamterene (Dyrenium), spironolactone (Aldactone), and eplerenone (Inspra). You should be cautious if you are taking diuretics with certain medicines including ACE inhibitors, anxiolytics, tricyclics, beta-blockers, and hypnotics as they can have an adverse reaction.
- Surgeries: If medicines are not working on you then your doctor may recommend you to go for a surgery. Angioplasty is a procedure used to open the arteries that are blocked. Heart valve repair surgery can also be done so that your valves close and open properly.
Many complications are associated with congestive heart failure. If people have severe heart failure then it can be life-threatening. It gets worse if people do not treat it properly or leave untreated. That is why it is important that one should get the treatment at the earliest without any delay.
Myth #1: A person should not do physical exercises after developing the problem of heart failure.
Doing regular physical exercises is a good habit. It keeps your body as well as your heart fit and fine. As per the American Heart Association (AHA), you should do physical activities for at least 150 minutes in a week with proper diet plan and heart monitoring to keep it healthy. You should not smoke otherwise it can increase the risk of chronic disorders and many heart diseases.
Myth #2: Congestive heart failure doesn’t affect strong and fit people.
When a person is fit, he or she is able to enjoy every colour of life but at the same time, it isn’t necessary that one can’t have the heart congestion problems. There are many reasons for heart failure. Being fit and strong can reduce the chances of developing heart failure, but it cannot eliminate heart failure.
Myth #3: Only old people can be affected by congestive heart failure.
A lot of people have this misconception that if you are old only then you can have heart failure. It is a fact that such conditions develop more in people who are older. Some people connect it with genetics. Though, there can be many reasons for developing heart failure. An infant or child can also have heart failure.
Myth #4: Congestive heart failure occurs suddenly.
It is a misconception, congestive heart failure does not happen suddenly. It is a chronic long-term disease in most of the cases. In rare cases, it can happen suddenly. Congestive heart failure can affect one side or both the sides of your heart.
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which heart is not able to pump the blood properly as it should. People generally do not discover this problem at an early stage as symptoms are hardly experienced in this stage. Most of the people discover it when the heart failure problem progresses. You should reach out to the best doctor as early as possible otherwise it can lead to various complications. Sometimes, this problem can be life-threatening if left untreated or not treated properly. People have many myths about heart failure. A person should not do physical exercises after developing the problem of heart failure is one of the common myths.
If you are looking for the answers to various questions including:
- What is congestive heart failure?
- What are the signs or symptoms of congestive heart failure?
- What are the causes of congestive heart failure?
- How is congestive heart failure diagnosed?
- How is congestive heart failure prevented?
- How is congestive heart failure treated?
- What are the various complications associated with congestive heart failure?
- What are the myths about congestive heart failure?
Then you are in the right place. Please refer to the above-mentioned information.
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