Everything to Know About Congestive Heart Failure
The term congestive cardiac failure can get you overwhelmed, thinking that your heart has stopped working. While you should be alarmed about heart diseases, congestive heart failure does not mean that your heart stops working altogether. Perhaps it should be your queue to visit an ER near you to learn more about heart diseases and how they can impact your health.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
It is a condition where the heart muscle fails to work properly in pumping sufficient blood throughout your body as efficiently as it should. Usually, heart failure means that the heart is weak. Since your body organs rely on the supply of blood from the heart to be nourished with nutrients, oxygen, and other fluids, it will also not function optimally when you have congestive heart failure.
Stages of Congestive Heart Failure
- Stage 1 – applies to all high-risk patients who can get heart failure at any time. Patients that fall in this category have other preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease.
- Stage 2 – applies to patients that have been diagnosed with systolic left ventricular dysfunction. Such a diagnosis does not automatically imply that you have congestive heart disease. However, you should be alert to know when you need congestive heart failure treatment near you.
- Stage 3 – applies to patients already experiencing congestive heart failure symptoms. You could have a previous history of cardiac failure or have an ongoing problem.
- Stage 4 – applies to patients with advanced congestive heart failure. Standard treatment for heart failure may not be effective for this stage.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?
As you visit an ER for congestive heart failure, take time to learn about the causes of congestive heart failure. The higher your risk for heart failure, the more conscious you should be about seeking medical attention in a 24-hour emergency room. Generally, any condition that overworks the heart and can weaken it will result in congestive heart failure. Some causes are:
- Coronary arterial disease – is a narrowing and hardening of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart. The disease occurs due to a blockage, commonly caused by blood clots or fat deposits due to high cholesterol.
- Congenital heart defects – are structural heart problems, including absent ventricle, a hole in your heart muscle, or unusually connected blood vessels.
- Obesity and excessive weight gain
- Type II diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease
- Sleep apnea
- Kidney disease
- Heart arrhythmias
- Heart attack or stroke
- Genetically inherited heart problems
Types of Congestive Heart Failure
In any ER near you, congestive heart failure is categorized into different types based on the location of the heart muscle that is damaged. The types are:
- Left-sided heart failure – is the most common type of heart failure, caused by coronary arterial disease.
- Right-sided heart failure – occurs due to conditions of the pulmonary artery or the lungs.
- Biventricular heart failure – affects both sides of the heart.
- Diastolic heart failure – is caused by diastolic dysfunction that makes the heart too stiff to fill up with blood correctly. The effect is an increase in the internal pressure of the heart.
- Systolic heart failure – is caused by systolic dysfunction so that the heart fills up with blood but cannot pump it effectively.
How to Know You Have Congestive Heart Failure
In the early stages of this illness, you will not notice any significant problems in your body. The one thing that may stand out is difficulty performing everyday tasks that should typically be easy. However, you may experience other symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath with every movement you make
- Chest pains – the more severe the problem is, the more pain you will experience
- Difficulty breathing – similar to what happens when you have an anxiety attack
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Body weakness and fatigue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heart attack – your heart pulse may stop when the blood circulation stops, and the heart muscle stops pumping blood
- Edema – fluid retention and swelling in various parts of your body like ankles, legs, hands, and abdomen.