Types, Symptoms, and Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure


Types, Symptoms, and Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in men and women worldwide. Congestive heart failure (CHF ), the chronic progressive condition of the heart, is one of the most common types of heart disease.

Due to its unnoticeable presence influenced by unhealthy lifestyle, stress, unhealthy diet, etc. congestive heart failure is often unfelt and undiagnosed. One of the prominent health threats, this condition needs attention, understanding of risk factors, and preventive health care services. A timely examination of the heart ailment symptoms and proper medical treatment is necessary to prevent complications.  More people are opting for heart insurance to plan for their future health and unexpected contingencies.

Congestive Heart Failure Definition

It is a chronic progressive condition of the heart where the fluid builds up around the heart and reduces the ability of the heart to pump enough blood to the body.

It doesn’t mean that the heart stops working altogether, but that the heart is not pumping enough blood volume to be able to meet the needs of the body. It can indicate several warning signs or symptoms of a worsening heart condition.

When the heart is not circulating enough blood volume to the body, the kidneys receive less blood than anticipated. As a result, it filters less fluid for circulation into the urine. The extra fluid that remains in circulation starts building up in the liver, lungs, eyes, and even hands and legs. It is termed as ‘congestion’. The building up of congestion creates stress on the heart that increases the seriousness of congestive heart failure .

Common Types of Congestive Heart Failure

The building up of congestion around the heart or different body organs can make the functioning poor, resulting in cardiac  failure. The left ventricle is rendered inefficient in pumping blood to the body, is one of the common types of congestive heart failure.

Broadly classifying, there are two common types of heart failure:

Systolic Heart Failure:

Here the contraction and repulsion power of the left ventricle is disturbed, which reduces the force available for the heart to pump blood circulation. Without the force of contraction and repulsion, the heart cannot function properly.

Diastolic Heart Failure:

In this case, the stiffness in the muscles around the left-ventricle causes diastolic heart failure. The stiffness renders it impossible for the heart to relax. During the beats, insufficient blood gets pulled into the ventricle, causing a lesser pump out of the blood.

The right-side congestive heart failure occurs when the right ventricle becomes inefficient. While the disease is known to impact the left-ventricle first, both the ventricles can become ineffective at once too.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

During the early stages of CHF, there are no significant health changes or congestive heart failure symptoms visible to the person. As the condition progresses, more noticeable  symptoms and gradual health changes start showing its presence. These include:

  • Frequent fatigue
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Increased urge to urinate (especially during the night)
  • Swelling in the hands, legs, and feet

More Severe Symptoms of the Cardiac Disease Include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing
  • Cheat pain radiating on the upper body
  • Fainting
  • Blue tinge on the skin (a symptom of oxygen deficiency)

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Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

The top congestive heart failure causes include improper lifestyle, unhealthy habits, and other related diseases directly impacting the heart. Some of the popularly known causes that determine the risk of CHF are:


High blood pressure or hypertension has a high impact on the heart, increasing the chances of cardiac  failure. It narrows the arteries, makes the muscles stiff, and makes it harder for the heart to circulate blood. It can lead to CHF.

Valve Conditions:

Contraction and repulsion of the heart valves are responsible for creating pressure that pulls the blood in and pumps the blood out. If this opening and closing of the valves are disturbed, it can get harder for the heart to pump the blood out. Thus, it can lead to infections, breathlessness, congestion, and heart failure.

Coronary Artery Disease:

Fatty food, inactive lifestyle, etc. are known to increase cholesterol in the body. The cholesterol can block the small arteries that supply the blood to the heart. This damage or blockage in the arteries can result in cardiac arrest or CHF.

Related Diseases:

Some health concerns that are unrelated to the heart can also impact heart health significantly. These include obesity, diabetes, thyroid, allergies, etc. It is essential to know the symptoms of these medical conditions so that one can get proper medical care.  One health condition impacts body functioning leading to another health problem.

Unhealthy Lifestyle:

Improper diet, substance abuse, alcohol, smoking, inactive lifestyle, etc. are some of the lifestyle concerns that have a history of aiding heart failures. If the body and heart are not healthy, CHF is triggered.

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

Consultation with a cardiologist is the first step to diagnosing congestive heart failure. Your cardiologist can run a physical examination on you to check heart rhythms, pulse rate, breathlessness, etc. to check on prime symptoms. During the initial diagnosis of CHF, doctors may detect abnormal heart sounds or build-up of fluid that could indicate heart failure.

Additionally, tests like Electrocardiogram (recording heart rhythms), MRI (picturing heart), Echocardiogram (recording motion and heart structure), Cardiac Catheterization (find a blockage in arteries), Stress Tests and Blood Tests are done to establish the signs of congestive heart failure. Furthermore, there are some additional tests a patient may have to undertake. That includes Cardiac  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Thyroid Function Tests, Doppler Ultrasound, and Echocardiography.

Early diagnosis of congestive heart failure  is a crucial step towards getting the right medical care.

Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

Depending upon the severity of the condition in CHF, the doctors devise treatment programs for their patients individually. Here are some of the congestive heart failure treatments suggested by the doctors:

  • Lifestyle change: Usually, when the condition in its initial stage, doctors suggest a lifestyle change to naturally treat the underlying causes of CHF.
  • Congestive heart failure drugs: Several medications are prescribed to decrease the formation of congestion, aid blood pumping, and improve heart health and symptoms. They include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, etc.
  • Surgeries: Doctors undertake Angioplasty to open up the blocked arteries and improve blood functioning. Valve repair surgery is also conducted to treat the valve conditions. Congestive heart failure is a progressive cardiac disease that can be prevented with effective lifestyle changes and solicited advice from the doctors.

Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease that can be prevented with effective lifestyle changes and solicited advice from the doctors.

The slightest of symptoms  of a heart ailment causes a lot of concern. Besides, the thought of expensive medical treatment can add to one’s stress. Hence, purchasing a health policy is a sensible approach to securing your health and finances.

Care Health Insurance’s “Heart Care Mediclaim” is comprehensive and affordable heart insurance for heart-related illnesses.

Disclaimer: Underwriting of claims for heart ailments is subject to policy terms and conditions.

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