What is Congestive Heart Failure?

July 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Heart Disease

Congestive heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump adequate blood that the body needs. A lot of other factors could contribute to congestive heart failure, such as coronary heart disease and hypertension. Generally, the heart just stiffens or becomes frail; either way, blood cannot function properly in the body, if the heart isn’t strong enough.

Although most heart disease risk factors that lead to congestive heart failure can’t be overcome, the problem itself can be treated and lengthen your overall life span. Some medications may help in alleviating the risk of heart disease, but there is also the option of simply improving your diet and exercising to lose weight. The best way, however, to prevent heart disease is to prevent and control the heart disease risk factors that may lead to heart disease.

Congestive heart failure does not come unexpectedly; in fact, it happens slowly over time and becomes a continual event. However, symptoms of congestive heart failure may escalate quickly, so it may seem like an unexpected occurrence. In order to fully understand what congestive heart failure entails, it is essential to know the symptoms of congestive heart failure to try and pinpoint them on your own.

Some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure include the shortness of breath from slight exercise, edema on feet, legs, and ankles, irregular or rapid heartbeat, fluid retention that could lead to weight gain, lack of mental alertness and concentration, coughing, wheezing, and discolored phlegm.

Those symptoms of congestive heart failure are extreme, but there are also less extreme symptoms of congestive heart failure, as well, such as intense heart disease, extreme chest pain, and irregular and rapid heartbeat that could make it stop beating altogether.

It is important to continually manage congestive heart failure for a longer life and put off serious treatments, like surgery and heart transplants. Actually, certain treatments may even improve the functions of the heart and make it stronger with a better heartbeat. Every person is a unique individual, though, so remember that what may work for one person may not work for another.

If a deformed heart valve is present, however, corrections through surgery can spell success and reverse congestive heart failure. Sometimes, the perfect mixture of medications could slow or even stop congestive heart failure from continuing or becoming worse than it is. Pacemakers or defibrillators are implantable surgical devices that can also be used, depending on how much damage the heart has and the progress of congestive heart failure. Another option is heart transplant surgery; however, this could present some problems as most countries have long waiting lists for heart transplant surgeries and there is no guarantee that you can get one. In general, getting the proper mixture of medication or surgical options is what will best prevent congestive heart failure from happening and save your life.