The heart's inability to pump or relax properly.
Congestive heart failure refers to a condition where the heart is not able to pump or relax properly and fluid builds up in the body and blood doesn’t reach the rest of the body. Blood that “backs up” in your system and can affect your liver, lungs, lower body, and abdomen.
One of the early symptoms is difficulty breathing, and as CHF develops, your symptoms become more noticeable and uncomfortable. Eventually, congestive heart failure might cause weight gain, severe shortness of breath, fatigue, an increased need to urinate, and swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet.
If left untreated, CHF may suddenly worsen and become life-threatening, requiring emergency evaluation and treatment.
Congestive heart failure is closely linked to other cardiovascular issues and is often caused by hypertension, coronary artery disease, a defect or infection that causes valve issues, or another medical condition like diabetes, obesity, or thyroid disease.
Individuals who are at risk of developing a cardiovascular condition are also at risk for heart failure if their symptoms are not treated. A family history of heart issues can play a role along with lifestyle choices.
When diagnosed early, CHF can be managed and treated, so it’s important to know your family history and take into consideration the risk factors that could affect you.
Most cases of congestive heart failure include some symptoms, and if you believe you might be developing this condition, it’s important to visit your cardiologist for a diagnosis. At Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates, we may utilize a range of state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate your heart health including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, blood tests, or an MRI. These services will allow us to determine how to develop the best possible treatment plan.
Various types of medication can help improve congestive heart failure, including ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, and diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in your body. More severe cases of congestive heart failure might require the use of devices or surgery to help improve the heart’s ability to pump.