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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), also called Congestive Cardiac Failure (CCF) or just Heart Failure is a condition that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to fill with or pump a sufficient amount of blood through the body. Congestive heart failure can be caused by
The heart is a pump that works together with the lungs. It pumps blood in 2 ways.
Heart failure sounds frightening because it sounds like the heart just stops working. Do not be discouraged by the term heart failure-the heart has not stopped beating or pumping. Heart failure means the tissues of the body are temporarily not receiving enough blood and oxygen. With advancements in diagnosis and therapy for heart failure, patients are feeling better and living longer.
Congestive Heart Failure can affect many organs of the body. For Example
Signs & Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure
The symptoms of congestive heart failure vary among individuals according to the particular organ systems involved and depending on the degree to which the rest of the body has "compensated" for the heart muscle weakness. An early symptom of congestive heart failure is fatigue. While fatigue is a sensitive indicator of possible underlying congestive heart failure, it is obviously a nonspecific symptom that may be caused by many other conditions. The person's ability to exercise may also diminish. Patients may not even sense this decrease and they may subconsciously reduce their activities to accommodate this limitation. Some other signs & symptoms of congestive heart failure are as follows:
Heart failure may decompensate easily; this may occur as the result of any intercurrent illness (such as pneumonia), but specifically myocardial infarction (a heart attack), Anaemia, hyperthyroidism or arrhythmias. These place additional strain on the heart muscle, which may cause symptoms to rapidly worsen. Excessive fluid or salt intake and medication that causes fluid retention may also precipitate decompile.
When to seek Medical Advice
If you have any of these symptoms, call your health care provider for an appointment. If the symptoms are severe seek immediate medical advice.
Congestive heart failure usually does not cause chest pain. Remember, though, that other serious conditions that do cause chest pain, such as angina and myocardial infarction, can coexist with heart failure.
Causes of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a syndrome, not a disease that can be brought about by several causes. CHF is a weakening of the heart brought on by an underlying heart or blood vessel problem, often a combination of several different problems, including the following:
The most common causes of Congestive Heart Failure are:
Less common causes of Congestive Heart Failure are:
Other causes of Congestive Heart Failure are:
Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is a clinical diagnosis. Doctors can usually make a diagnosis of congestive heart failure based upon a physical exam and the symptoms alone. During the physical exam, the doctor will check for a weak or rapid pulse rate, enlargement of the heart, swollen neck veins, swelling of the liver, fluid retention, sounds of fluid in the lungs, and abnormal heart sounds.
To confirm the diagnosis doctor may perform a number of tests, including Chest X-rays, Blood tests, Electrocardiograms (EKGs), Urinalysis, and Exercise stress tests. Some other tests such as Electrocardiograms, Echocardiograms, and Angiography may be performed because these create images of the heart's activity and are also helpful in the diagnosis.
Diagnostic tests may include:
The purpose of these tests is to evaluate heart function (e.g., assess ejection fraction), and to detect coronary artery disease, heart attack, and valve dysfunction.
Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure
The treatment of congestive heart failure focused on treating the symptoms and signs of congestive heart failure and preventing the progression of disease. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medicines, Tran catheter interventions, and surgery.
Studies show that medicines also help improve your heart function and make it easier for you to exercise or do physical activity.
Surgery can correct malfunctioning heart valves and remove blockages from coronary arteries.
For long-term care, doctors recommend alternating periods of rest with gentle exercise, such as walking. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can provide medically supervised exercise programs for people with congestive heart failure. Heart transplants are only considered for patients with severe congestive heart failure. The best way to prevent heart failure is to practice healthy lifestyle habits that reduce your chances of developing a heart problem. Patients should carefully follow their doctors' advice. In doing so, they can continue to live full and productive lives.
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