CHF (congestive heart failure) is a chronic progressive condition which is affecting the pumping power of the heart muscles. In many cases it is known as heart failure. The congestive heart failure refers to the stage in which the fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. We know that we have 4 heart chambers. The upper half of the heart has 2 atria and the lower half of your heart has 2 ventricles.
The function of the ventricles is to pump blood to the body’s organs and tissues and the atria is receiving blood from the body as it circulates back from the rest of your body. The congestive heart failure develops when the ventricles cannot pump enough blood volume to your body. Eventually, your blood and other fluids can back up inside your lower body, liver, abdomen or lungs. The congestive heart failure can be life – threatening condition. If you suspect that you or some family member has congestive heart failure, then you or your family member should seek immediate medical care.
In the early stages of congestive heart failure you are most likely not to notice any changes in your health. When this condition progresses, then you will start to experiencing gradual changes in your body.
- Symptoms you may notice first:
- Increased need to urinate, especially at night
- Weight gain
- Swelling in your ankles, feet and legs
- Symptoms that indicate your conditions has worsened:
- Shortness of breath, which may indicate pulmonary edema
- A cough that may develops from congested lungs
- Irregular heartbeat
- Symptoms that indicate a severe heart condition:
- You can notice that your skin appears blue, which is due to lack of oxygen in your lungs
- Rapid breathing
- Chest pain that radiates through the upper body
The chest pain which radiates through the upper body can be also a sign of heart attack. If you have some of the mentioned symptoms that point of a severe heart condition, then seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a heart failure in infants and young children can be difficult for recognizing. Some symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Poor feeding
Many people misunderstood these symptoms with respiratory infection or colic so this is a reason why you should take your child and visit his doctor. Also, the poor growth and low blood pressure can be signs of heart failure in children. There are some cases when you can be able to feel a resting baby’s rapid heart rate through the chest wall.
The congestive heart failure can result from other health conditions which directly affect your cardiovascular system. This is a reason why you should go on annual checkups to lower your risk of heart health problems, such as valve conditions, coronary artery disease and hypertension. Here are the most common causes for congestive heart failure:
- Valve conditions: We know that the heart valve regulates the blood flow through your heart by opening and closing in and out of the chambers. Valves which do not open and close correctly can force the ventricles to work harder to pump blood and this can be a result of defect or a heart infection.
- Coronary artery disease: It is known that the cholesterol and other types of fatty substances can block the coronary arteries which are small arteries that can supply blood to our heart. This is causing the arteries to become narrow. The narrower coronary arteries can restrict your blood flow and this can lead to a damage in your arteries.
- Hypertension: It is known that when your blood pressure is higher than normal, then it can lead to congestive heart failure. There can be many different causes for hypertension. The narrowing of the arteries is one of the most common causes for hypertension and this makes harder for the blood to flow through them.
- Other conditions: The heart – related diseases can lead to congestive heart failure but also there are other conditions which can increase your risk of this condition. These conditions are obesity, thyroid disease and diabetes. Also, allergic reactions and severe infections can lead to congestive heart failure.