Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure, commonly known as heart failure is a condition in which your heart is unable to pump blood well enough to the other parts of your body. This failure doesn’t necessarily mean that your heart has stopped working. Your heart is still working but it is unable to pump enough blood to the other parts of your body for proper functioning.
When this condition occurs, blood and fluid back up and can build up in your lungs which can cause shortness of breath.
Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
Symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Rapid weight gain
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Swelling in the legs, including ankles and feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Limited ability to exercise
- Persistent cough or wheezing (white or pink blood-tinged mucus may be discharged)
- Chest pain
Congestive Heart Failure Causes
This type of heart failure doesn’t usually develop on its own. It often develops as a result of other conditions that may have damaged or weakened the heart. Heart failure can also occur if the main heart pumping chambers (ventricles) become too stiff and do not fill up properly between heartbeats.
Several conditions can damage or weaken your heart which can lead to heart failure. These conditions include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Damage to the heart muscle
- Inflammation of the heart muscle
- Faulty heart valves
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Congenital heart defect
- An overactive or underactive thyroid
- Severe infections
- Use of certain medications
- Viruses that attack the heart muscle
- Allergic reactions
- A serious illness that affects all the body
- Blood clots in the lungs
Congestive Heart Failure Prevention
Keeping healthy lifestyle changes and taking medications prescribed by your doctor can help prevent this type of heart failure.
- Quit smoking
- Stay physically active
- Eat healthy foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress
- Controlling certain conditions that can cause heart failure including high blood pressure and diabetes
Congestive Heart Failure Stages
It progresses through four stages.
Stage A is the pre-heart failure stage. At this stage, you’re considered to be at high risk of developing congestive heart failure. This may be because you have a family history of heart failure. It may also be because you have one or more medical conditions that could lead to heart failure or you take substances that could increase your risk of heart failure.
Stage B is also considered a pre-heart failure stage. At this stage, your doctor has given you a diagnosis of systolic left ventricular dysfunction. However, you’ve never experienced any symptoms of heart failure.
At this stage, your doctor has given you a diagnosis of heart failure diagnosis and you’re currently experiencing or have previously had symptoms of congestive failure of the heart.
Stage D is the final stage of congestive failure of the heart. At this stage, you are experiencing advanced symptoms of this type of heart failure that may not get better with treatment. Specialized treatments are required.
Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosis
During diagnosis, your medical history and your symptoms will be reviewed. A physical exam will also be conducted. Physical exams include listening to your lungs and heart for abnormal sounds. Your doctor will also check the veins in your neck as well as your abdomen and legs for fluid buildup.
A series of tests may be ordered. These tests include:
- Blood tests
- Chest X-ray
- Stress test
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan
- Coronary angiogram
- Myocardial biopsy
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment in Waco, TX
Treating the underlying cause may help improve heart failure.
Treatment options include:
These drugs help to slow down your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. They can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve heart function. Examples of beta blocks include carvedilol, metoprolol, and bisoprolol.
2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
These drugs help to relax the arteries to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Examples of ACE inhibitors include enalapril, lisinopril, and captopril.
3. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
These drugs may serve as an alternative for people who can’t tolerate ACE inhibitors. Examples include losartan, valsartan and candesartan.
These drugs make you urinate more frequently to take out fluid from your body. They help keep fluid from accumulating in your body. Examples of diuretics include furosemide, spironolactone, and bumetanide.
Other medications that may be prescribed include:
- Aldosterone antagonists, such as spironolactone and eplerenone.
- Hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate
Surgical procedures may be recommended to treat underlying conditions causing congestive failure of the heart.
These surgical procedures include:
1. Heart valve repair or replacement
If a faulty heart valve is the underlying cause of heart failure, repairing or replacing the valve may be recommended.
2. Coronary bypass surgery
If the underlying cause of your heart failure is narrowed or blocked coronary arteries, coronary artery bypass surgery may be recommended.
3. Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)
CRT is used to treat heart failure in people whose ventricles aren’t pumping in sync with each other. It helps your ventricles to contract in a more coordinated way to improve the pumping of blood from the heart to the rest parts of your body.
4. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
An ICD monitors the heart rhythm to bring it back to normal in cases when your heart beats dangerously fast, slow, or stops.
5. Ventricular assist device (VAD)
VAD assists the ventricles to pump blood to the rest parts of your body.
6. a Heart transplant
Severe heart failure that surgery or medications don’t help may require a complete heart transplant. A heart transplant involves the removal of the damaged heart and replacing it with a healthy heart from a donor.
What is congestive heart failure life expectancy?
It is not a death sentence. With proper treatment, you could live your normal life. The underlying cause of this heart failure usually determines the life expectancy. Generally, about half of all patients diagnosed with congestive failure of the heart will live for extra five years while about 30% will live for extra 10 years.
Is congestive heart failure serious?
It is a serious condition that requires timely medical attention. When the heart stops pumping blood to the other parts of the body, a lot of things could go wrong. If left untreated, it could lead to liver and kidney damage. Severe cases can lead to death.
Can you recover from congestive heart failure?
There is no cure for this type of heart failure. Treatment is aimed at improving your symptoms, preventing your condition from getting worse, and improving your life expectancy.
How do you get rid of fluid from congestive heart failure?
Diuretics can help get rid of fluid from the congestive failure of the heart. Diuretics make you urinate more and prevent fluid buildup.
What foods should be avoided with congestive failure of the heart?
- Avoid salt and very salty foods
- Reduce your intake of water
- Avoid potato chips
- Avoid white bread
What are the beginning stages of congestive heart failure?
The beginning stages of this type of heart failure are stages A and B.