- Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure and Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure
- By:peter hutch
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart's function as a pump to deliver oxygen rich blood to the body is inadequate to meet the body's needs. Congestive heart failure can be caused by:
Diseases that weaken the heart muscle,
Diseases that cause stiffening of the heart muscles
Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure
Symptoms are dependent on two factors. The first is based on the side of the heart, right or left, that is involved. The second factor is based on the type of failure, either diastolic or systolic. Symptoms and presentation may be indistinguishable making diagnosis impossible based on symptoms.
If the left side of your heart is not working properly (left-sided heart failure), blood and fluid back up into your lungs. You will feel short of breath, be very tired, and have a cough (especially at night). In some cases, patients may begin to cough up pinkish, blood-tinged sputum.
General tiredness or weakness
Swelling of the legs (usually just the feet or ankles)
Rapid weight gain (1 or 2 pounds a day for 3 days in a row)
Causes of Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened your heart. Over time, the heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it. The ventricles may become stiff and not fill properly between beats. Also, the heart muscle may weaken, and the ventricles stretch (dilate) to the point that the heart can't pump blood efficiently throughout your body.
The most common cause for heart failure is dysfunction of the left ventricle. Normally, every time the heart "beats," the left ventricle contracts and ejects approximately 60% of the blood in the chamber into the main artery (aorta). The percentage of blood pumped out of the left ventricle with each contraction is called the ejection fraction.
Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure
If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. This means having follow up appointments at least every 3 to 6 months, figuring out any underlying cause and treating it, and periodic testing of your heart function. For example, an ultrasound of your heart, called an echocardiogram, will be done once in awhile to give an estimate of how well your heart is pumping blood with each stroke or beat.
When deciding how to treat heart failure, the most important question is what caused the heart failure in the first place and to reverse that if possible. If the problem is from a bad valve, surgery will usually be required to replace or repair the valve. If the problem is electrical, a pacemaker may be needed to regulate the heart beat or other treatments to slow the heart rate. If the problem is from blocked arteries, either an angioplasty or a bypass surgery is usually attempted.
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