What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term heart failure? Many people would probably make a guess. And that guess entails a condition where the heart stops. However, that’s not exactly true. Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart functions less.
Each year, more than 6 million people get affected by congestive heart failure. Coincidently, there are a number of risk factors, symptoms, signs, and treatments that lead to congestive heart failure. And below we’re covering just that and more.
Understanding the term congestive heart failure
In short, Congestive heart failure means your heart isn’t pumping blood effectively. This can be due to a number of reasons that we’ll be discussing below. At the same time, many of the conditions leave the heart in a vulnerable state.
For example, either they make your heart too weak or too stiff. Hence, the heart simply fails to function properly. As you know, the heart is one of the vital organs of the body. And when it fails to act accordingly, you don’t receive enough blood. Consequently, your oxygen levels decrease and you can die.
Hence this is why congestive heart failure requires immediate medical attention.
Common conditions that can lead to congestive heart failure
What are the common conditions that lead to congestive heart failure? Obviously, heart failure doesn’t occur on its own. Hence, here is a list of some common conditions that might lead to the condition.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary arteries are the vessels that supply your heart with blood. If they get damaged, your heart won’t receive oxygen and nutrients. Consequently, you can get congestive heart failure.
Additionally, this condition is the most common cause of heart failure.
Increased blood pressure
High blood pressure makes your heart vulnerable to heart failures. This is because when you have high blood pressure, your heart works harder to pump blood. Over time, this makes your heart stiff or weak.
Poorly functioning heart valves
Heart valves prevent the backflow of blood. Consequently, when they don’t function properly, blood moves in the wrong direction. In the end, your heart has to work harder to pump blood.
Damaged heart muscle
Your heart gets damaged due to several reasons. It could either be due to disease, drugs, alcohol, infections, and more. All these conditions make the heart vulnerable to congestive heart failure.
Heart birth defects
People born with heart birth defects are more prone to heart disease. Their hearts are abnormal in structure and function. Consequently, there are abnormal heart rhythms too.
Other common diseases
Other common diseases like diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, increased iron and protein, and HIV make the heart weak. Hence, it’s not surprising why they lead to heart failure.
Do all heart failures come with symptoms?
Congestive heart failure can occur suddenly, without any symptoms. On the other hand, it may occur over a period of time with symptoms. Here are some common ones to be aware of:
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the legs, feet, and ankles
- abnormal heartbeat
- constant cough
- sudden weight gain
- decreased concentration
- swelling of the abdomen
- frequent urination
- loss of appetite
- chest pain, usually if the cause is a heart attack
How you can avoid congestive heart failure?
There are a number of risk factors associated with heart failure.
Hence, you can avoid it by becoming familiar with the following:
- increased blood pressure
- heart attack
- coronary heart disease
- certain medications- Coincidently, these medications are also used to treat diabetes. Hence, they include rosiglitazone and pioglitazone
- sleep apnea or difficulty breathing when sleeping
- drugs such as NSAIDs, anesthesia medications and also a number of medications used for high blood pressure, cancer, lung conditions, inflammation, blood conditions, infections, and more
- increased tobacco use
- abnormal heart rhythms
Congestive heart failure is an emergency condition.
Consequently, it needs medical intervention and proper examination.Hence, you can also prevent the complications of congestive heart failure by getting diagnosed early.