What Is The Main Cause Of Congestive Heart Failure? How To Help Congestive Heart Failure?

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In the past few years, the generality of Heart Failure, particularly Congestive Heart Failure, has risen. Congestive Heart Failure has now become a global health concern, with millions of people either dealing with it or are under threat.

This cardiac condition has emerged through the boundaries of age and region now. Heart diseases are common all across the world, with China, the United States of America, India, and Russia emerging as its global leaders. Before the threat grasps more millions, it is important to be alert, educate yourself, and alarm others.

Continue reading to learn about Congestive Heart Failure, the reasons for this condition, its early symptoms, and all the treatment options.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure? How Is Congestive Heart Failure Treated?

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a critical cardiovascular condition. In this chronic condition, the heart cannot pump blood effectively thus leading to fluid build-up in the lungs and other tissues. Congestive Heart Failure can result from various heart health problems

Cause Of Congestive Heart Failure

Is Heart Failure And Congestive Heart Failure The The Same?

Well, even though Heart Failure and Congestive Heart Failure are terms often used interchangeably, there’s a slight difference between them.

Heart Failure is a broader term referring to the condition when the heart isn’t pumping blood as effectively as it should. Whereas in Congestive Heart Failure, besides the inability to pump blood effectively and involves fluid congestion in the lungs and other tissues also emerges as an alarming condition. The word ‘Congestive’ means the built-up of fluid, and that’s what differs both the terms.

Symptoms And Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure

Here is a breakdown of symptoms and causes of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Although the conditions may vary amongst individuals, here’s a general overview:

What Are The Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms?

  • The feeling of breathlessness or difficulty breathing, especially during lying down, at midnight, or during/ after any physical activity.
  • The feeling of fatigue and tiredness even after minimal physical work.
  • Sudden, rapid, and unexplained weight gain (majorly due to fluid retention).
  • Swelling in legs (particularly ankles) and abdomen due to fluid retention.
  • Chronic cough with bloody sputum (sometimes) or dry cough.
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Frequent need for urination (Especially at night).

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

Some of the common causes of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) include:

  • Obesity or a BMI higher than 30.
  • Straining of heart over time due to prolonged high blood pressure.
  • Heart attack or a sudden blockage of blood flow to the heart muscles.
  • The inability of the heart valves to control the blood flow.
  • Any infection that is affecting the heart.
  • Structural heart problems (from birth).
  • Kidney diseases.
  • Tobacco, alcohol, or recreational drug usage.
  • Chemotherapy.

Diagnosis  And Tests Of Congestive Heart Failure

The detailed diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) involves:

  • The doctor in charge (ideally a Cardiologist or a heart failure specialist) may inquire about the medical history, followed by physical examination of areas with fluid retention.
  • Further, the doctor may suggest the following:
  • Blood tests to detect B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels or other markers.
  • Chest X-rays or other imaging tests to evaluate the size and shape of the heart and fluid retention in the lungs.
  • ECG or EKG to record the electrical activities along with irregularities (if any) of the heart.
  • Stress tests evaluate how the heart performs under stress (typically during exercises and other intense physical activities).
  • Cardiac Catheterization to access heart functions and check blockage.
  • MRI or CT Scan to evaluate any structural issue within the heart.

Management And Treatment Of Congestive Heart Failure

The treatment (and management) of Congestive Heart Failure requires a staged approach depending upon the severity of the condition. Here’s an overview of the same:

Stage 1 Treatment Includes:

  • Regular exercise like walking and yoga.
  • Quitting tobacco, recreational drugs, and alcohol.
  • A low sodium diet and medications to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  • ARB or ACE inhibitors if the patient has any cardiac conditions.

Stage 2 Treatment Includes:

All the Stage 1 treatments along with medications like:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Aldosterone antagonist
  • Or surgery if coronary arteries are blocked, or if the patient has suffered any chronic disease, valve disease, or a heart attack.

Stage 3 Treatment Includes:

All the Stage 1 & 2 treatments along with medications like:

  • Sodium-Glucose Transport 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i)
  • A combination of Hydralazine/ Nitrate
  • Fuild management through various lifestyle modifications.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillator

Stage 4 Treatment Includes:

All the Stage 1, 2 & 3 treatments along with:

  • Targeted medications for worsening heart condition.
  • Diuretics
  • Combined management of other chronic and cardiac health conditions.

Prevention Of Congestive Heart Failure

Preventing Congestive Heart Failure requires a comprehensive approach to medications, managing risk factors, and improving overall lifestyle.

Prevention Of Congestive Heart Failure

Here are prevention tips:

  • Consume a well-balanced diet focusing on lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • They limited sodium intake.
  • Indulge in brisk walking, yoga, or other forms of light exercises.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Monitor and regulate Blood Pressure levels.
  • Manage Diabetes and cholesterol levels through diet, lifestyle, and medications.
  • Quit smoking and avoid exposure to a passive smoking environment.
  • Limit or quit alcohol consumption.
  • Go for half-yearly or monthly health checkups.
  • Know your family’s heart health history and discuss it with your cardiologist.
  • Ensure regular intake of all prescribed medications.
  • Avoid excess consumption of OTC drugs.
  • Practice meditation and other stress management techniques.
  • Stay informed and alert about all the symptoms and warning signs.
  • Keep in touch with your doctor and seek medical help immediately.

Takeaway

Instead of fearing Congestive Heart Failure, involve a holistic approach of lifestyle modification and medical treatment to avoid further complications. Individuals can play an active role in preserving and managing their heart health. Even after getting diagnosed with this condition, a tailored treatment plan can help in living a normal and healthy life.

Remember the earlier your condition is diagnosed, you can seek and react the better to the treatment. 

References:

  1. Jones NR, Hobbs FR, Taylor CJ. Prognosis following a diagnosis of heart failure and the role of primary care: a review of the literature (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6169931/)BJGP Open. 2017 Oct 4;1(3). Accessed 3/10/2023.
  2. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. What Is Heart Failure? (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart-failure) Accessed 3/10/2023.
  3. Heart failure. (2020).
    https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_failure.htm

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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