What is Congestive Heart Failure Disease?
Commonly called heart failure, CHF is a progressive condition and refers to the stage in which the heart cannot pump blood properly since the fluid has built up around it. Heart failure, therefore, does not necessarily mean the heat is not functioning but rather that it is not functioning effectively. This inefficiency builds up pressure in the heart and causes the organ to pump blood slower.
Causes of Congestive Heart Failure
There are numerous causes for this condition. These include:
- Toxic damage from drugs and alcohol
- Hypertension. The high pressure in the arteries causes the heart to pump less effectively
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Heart valve disease which causes heart valves to be defective and hinder forward flow of blood or permit backward flow
- Previous heart attacks
- Thyroid disease. For this case, the thyroid glands secrete excess hormones (Thyroxine), which overworks the heart and may lead to heart failure
- Idiopathic Cardiomyopathy, a disease characterized by enlargement of the left ventricle to make up for poor contraction
- Another cause is Coronary Heart Disease, which causes a decline of blood flowing to the heart muscle.
In general, significant factors that cause heart failure are; Unhealthy diet, diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, high alcohol intake, high cholesterol, and reduced social and emotional well being. Avoiding these conditions helps you avert congestive heart failure.
Signs and Symptoms
If you experience any of the symptoms below, promptly visit an ER (Emergency room) near you. The symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
- You may find it hard to lie flat at night
- Gaining weight, usually 2kg each week
- Abdominal swelling
- Shortness of breath, especially at night when you wake up and during exercise
- Your heart beating too fast
- Peculiar wheezing and coughing
- Muscular fatigue
- Chest pain
- Passing out
Common types of Heart failure
Left-sided heart failure is the most common. In this condition, your left ventricle is unable to pump blood to your body efficiently. Delayed treatment will cause fluid to build up in your chest, causing difficulty in breathing. At this stage, you need to be rushed to the nearest 24-hour emergency care unit.
Left-sided CHF is further divided into systolic heart failure and diastolic failure. For systolic heart failure, the left ventricle cannot contract properly, reducing the force available to pump blood into the body. On the other hand, if you have a diastolic failure, the left ventricle becomes stiff and unable to relax, hindering blood from filling the heart between beats.
As for right-sided heart failure, your heart struggles to pump blood into your lungs. You can suffer from both right-sided and left-sided congestive heart failure. The disease usually starts on the left, then gradually progresses to the right if not treated.
Stages of CHF
There are four stages of congestive heart failure. These are:
- Class I
Class I is the first stage. You can quickly treat the condition at this stage using heart medication, lifestyle changes, and monitoring.
- Class II
At this stage, you notice shortness of breath, fatigue, and palpitations during normal physical activities. Monitoring, heart medication, and lifestyle changes can treat the condition at this stage.
- Class III
When the condition advances to this stage, you experience shortness of breath, fatigue, and palpitations after even mild exercises. A visit to an ER near you is firmly advised at this stage. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you.
- Class IV
Class IV is the final stage. You will experience discomfort in the form of shortness of breath, fatigue, and palpitations even when you are at rest. There is no known cure for CHF at this stage. However, a visit to a 24-hour emergency care unit is essential. You will discuss with your doctor which palliative care and quality-to-life option work best for you.
Before treatment, your doctor will conduct tests to ascertain you have congestive heart failure. These tests are:
- Lung function tests
- Blood tests
- Exercise stress test like walking on a treadmill while you are examined using a heart monitor
- Testing ECG
- Angiography to spot blockages in your heart
- After confirming you have CHF, the following treatments can be used to manage the disease:
- Surgery aiming to replace leaking or narrowed heart valves
- Treating the primary disorder, for instance, diabetes
- For severe cases, a heart transplant can be recommended
- Medications like ACE inhibitors which help lower blood pressure, open blood vessels and reduce water and sodium retention
- Lifestyle changes like restricting alcohol intake, losing excess body fat, and getting enough rest
- Introducing implantable cardiac devices
- Coronary bypass surgery
In conclusion, CHF is harmless if diagnosed early. When left untreated, the condition gradually progresses in severity and can be fatal. If you are looking for the best 24-hour emergency room in Temple, Texas, visit us today at Express ER (Temple). Our doctors and staff will cater to all your needs.