Congestive Heart Failure
Modern Heart and Vascular Institute
Rajiv Agarwal, MD
Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Humble, TX, Katy, TX & Cleveland, TX
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting millions of Americans every year. Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition stemming from many types of heart disease and other complications. Learning more about congestive heart failure can help you prevent disease and manage your health to ensure a longer and healthier life.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
While the name might sound frightening, congestive heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working entirely. Rather, heart failure means your heart is not pumping enough or as efficiently as possible. It is a serious, long-term condition requiring you to stay vigilant about your heart and overall health.
Several environmental and health factors may take a toll on your heart. Over time, your heart might become weak or stiff in response to the gradual wear. A weakened heart cannot pump blood as well as it should, resulting in slower blood movement, increased pressure and a greater strain. Inadequate blood pumping allows fluids to build up throughout your body, causing congestion.
There are four stages of heart failure: A, B, C and D. Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease that worsens over time. These stages help patients and health care providers understand the symptoms, treatment options and outlook associated with heart failure.
Signs of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure symptoms vary based on the type and stage of the disease you’re experiencing. Some people may not have any physical signs of heart failure, while others notice mild to severe symptoms that come and go or remain constant. Here are some of the most common signs:
- Shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing
- Dizziness, fatigue and weakness
- Swelling, especially in the ankles
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
Always tell your doctor or health care provider about new and worsening symptoms. Seek emergency medical treatment for sudden or unexplained symptoms like chest pain, which may be a sign of a severe heart condition.
Causes of Congestive Heart Failure
Almost any disease or condition that damages the heart can lead to congestive heart failure. Whether you have an acute or chronic cardiovascular issue, the strain puts pressure on your heart and reduces its ability to pump blood efficiently. The following conditions are common causes:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Valve conditions
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
While congestive heart failure is a chronic, long-term condition, you can live a longer and healthier life with proper management. Treatment depends on the individual patient and their current stage of heart failure, but typical management plans include drugs and medication, surgery and lifestyle changes. Talk to your health care provider about your particular options.
Congestive Heart Failure Prevention
You can also take proactive steps to prevent congestive heart failure. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, get regular physical exercise, quit smoking and make other positive lifestyle changes, you lower the risk of congestive heart failure and other contributing cardiovascular issues. Be aware of your family history and potential risk factors.
At Modern Heart and Vascular, we’ll help you manage and prevent heart failure and other heart-related conditions. Request an appointment today to learn more.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.