Congestive heart failure is a condition which involves a buildup of fluids around the heart, which in turn affects the pumping and overall functioning of the heart. The heart has four chambers—the upper half houses two atria, while the lower half has two ventricles. The ventricles are responsible for pumping blood to the entire body and organs, while the atria are responsible for receiving blood.
If you’re suffering from congestive heart failure, your ventricles become incapable of pumping sufficient blood to the body. This results in the blood and fluids getting accumulated in the lungs, liver, abdomen, and other parts of the body. If not treated in time, congestive heart failure can be life threatening.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?
There are a few causal factors of congestive heart failure, and this includes:
- Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary heart disease is a disease that affects the arteries. It involves the blockage or narrowing of the arteries. It can cause your heart to be starved of the oxygen and nutrients it requires. Coronary artery disease is one of the most common causes of congestive heart failure.
This is a progressive heart disease, where the heart walls thicken, stiffen up, and enlarge. This, in turn, can disturb the heart’s ability to pump blood, causing congestive heart failure.
- Heart Attack
Heart attacks are the most common cause of congestive heart failure. A heart attack happens when the coronary arteries get blocked suddenly. This stops the flow of blood to the heart and to the rest of your body. A heart attack can damage the heart muscles as well, leaving it dysfunctional.
- Alcohol and drug abuse
Alcohol and drug abuse can damage the heart and cause congestive heart failure. Research shows that people who indulge in alcohol and drug abuse are more prone and likelier to get congestive heart disease, as opposed to those who don’t.
- Family history of congestive heart failure
Heart diseases are usually hereditary. If you have a family history of congestive heart failure, then chances are that you might get affected as well.
Obesity is the culprit when it comes to a lot of diseases, and heart diseases top the list. Excess fat in your body can cause heart diseases and block your arteries, thereby causing congestive heart failure.
- Other Causal factors
Other causal factors that cause congestive heart failure are high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, kidney diseases, diabetes, and heart defects that are present at birth.
Types Of Congestive Heart Failure
- Left sided congestive heart failure occurs when the left ventricle stops pumping blood properly to the rest of your body. This can cause a buildup of fluids in your lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
- Left sided congestive heart failure is the most common and they are of two types.
- Systolic Heart Failure: This takes place when the left ventricle stops contracting normally, which in turn can reduce the level of the force that is needed to push the blood into your body for circulation.
- Diastolic Heart Failure: Also known as diastolic dysfunction, this takes place when the muscles in the left ventricles become stiff.
- Right sided congestive heart failure takes place when the right ventricle has a problem pumping blood properly to your lungs and body. This can cause a retention of blood and fluids in the lower part of your body like your abdomen and other organs.
- There are cases where people experience both left and right sided congestive heart failure at the same time.
Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be life threatening. Here are a few symptoms of congestive heart failure that you should be aware off, as knowing these symptoms can help you get medical aid fast thorugh various treatment for congestive heart failure.
Fatigue – Fatigue is common, something all of us experience, but if you find yourself constantly tired then this could be a symptom of congestive heart failure.
Irregular heartbeat – An inconsistency in your heart beat is another sign of congestive heart failure, which is more the cause for concern to seek effective treatment for congestive heart failure.
Chest Pain – This is one of the most commonly experienced symptoms. Chest pain that radiates across the upper part of your body should never be neglected.
Swelling in your feet and ankles – Congestive heart failure causes fluid retention, so this, in turn, can cause swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet.
Coughing – Since your lungs get congested, you can develop incessant coughing as well.
Rapid breathing – Most people suffering from congestive heart disease get breathless and begin to breathe rapidly.
Weight gain – Weight gain is something that you will experience if you’re suffering from congestive heart failure, thanks to the retention of blood and fluids in your body.
Bluish appearance of skin – Owing to the lack of oxygen and congestion of your heart and lungs, you might turn bluish. This calls for a medical emergency and immediate treatment for congestive heart failure. If your brain lacks enough oxygen, it can be fatal.
Fainting – When the heart doesn’t pump enough blood, your body doesn’t get the enough oxygen and nutrients it needs. This will cause you to faint.
Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure
Heart diseases, in general, require you to seek medical help as soon as possible, here are a few treatments for congestive heart failure:
- Blood thinners that thin the blood, reducing the risk of the formation of blood clots so blood flow increases.
- ACE inhibitors that widen the blood vessels, which makes it easier for your heart to pump blood.
- Platelets shouldn’t stick together, so antiplatelet drugs can be administered as well.
- Vasodilators help reduce the level of oxygen. It can also help stop chest pain.