Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms And Treatment

Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart is unable to function. The main function of the heart is to pump blood throughout the body.

Congestive heart failure can occur as an acute or a chronic condition. The heart has four chambers. In congestive heart failure, depending on the severity of the condition it can affect either side of the heart or in some conditions the entire heart fails to function.

Two types of heart failure generally occur:

Systolic heart failure- this condition occurs when the heart fails to pump blood out from the heart.

Diastolic heart failure- this condition occurs when, the muscles of the heart are affected and the inadequate blood is filled in the heart.

Due to this the main function of pumping oxygen rich blood to the rest of the body is affected. When this occurs, fluid accumulation takes place in liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract etc. Due to this there is lack of oxygen rich blood to various organs which affects their function.

The failure of heart can also occur due to:

– Any kind of infection which may affect the heart muscle.

Congestive heart failure can also be due to any kind of defect in the heart valves, in congenital heart disease, heart attacks and arrhythmias.

-It can also be due to conditions like severe anemia, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, emphysema etc.

 

Symptoms:

-short breath

-irregular pulse

-profuse sweating

-cough

-swelling in the feet

-palpitations

-weakness and fatigue

-nausea and vomiting

Some other long term symptoms include:

-loss of appetite

-weight gain

-indigestion

-inability to concentrate

-frequent urination

-decrease in the urine output

Some of the signs that the doctor may look for are:

-swelling in the leg area

-accumulation of fluid around the lungs

-irregularities in the heart beat

-distended neck veins

-liver edema

For diagnosis of the condition the following tests should be done:

-ECG

-x-rays of the chest

-MRI scan

-CT scan of the heart

-echocardiogram

 

Treatment:

The patient suffering from congestive heart failure is monitored closely. Regular echocardiogram is done at regular intervals. The patient has to check himself by a heart function test regularly. Healthy diet and lifestyle should be followed.

Medications like ACE inhibitors are prescribed to the patient. ACE inhibitors are drugs such as captopril, enalapril, ramipril etc. these drugs act by opening up the blood vessels which gradually results in reducing the work load of the heart.

Diuretics like spironolactone and furosemide are given. These help in increasing the urine output of the body. Hence excess fluid and salt is eliminated from the body.

Medications like digital glycosides help the heart muscles to contract properly.

Beta blockers are prescribed in some patients.

In some selected cases of congestive heart failure a cardiac pace maker is given. This is useful in patients who have a slow heart rate.

 

Prognosis:

Congestive heart failure is a serious condition. It is chronic in nature. It can worsen rapidly in conditions like stress. The condition cannot be improved in most cases however it can be maintained by the help of medications and other lifestyle changes.

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