Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms : Causes, prevention and treatment


Congestive heart failure symptoms are caused by a disorder in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. The term "heart failure" should not be confused with cardiac arrest, a situation in which the heart actually stops beating.

Heart failure is almost always a chronic, long-term condition, although it can sometimes develop suddenly. This condition may affect the right side, the left side, or both sides of the heart.


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As the heart's pumping action is lost, blood may back up into other areas of the body:

  • The liver
  • The gastrointestinal tract and extremities (right-sided heart failure)
  • The lungs (left-sided heart failure)

With heart failure, many organs don't receive enough oxygen and nutrients, which damages them and reduces their ability to function properly. Most areas of the body can be affected when both sides of the heart fail.

The most common causes of congestive heart failure symptoms are hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease (for example, you have had a heart attack). Other structural or functional causes of heart failure include the following:

  • Valvular heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Lung disease
  • Heart tumor
  • Heart failure becomes more common with advancing age. You are also at increased risk for developing heart failure if you are overweight, have diabetes, smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or use cocaine

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Pronounced neck veins
  • Loss of appetite, indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath with activity, or after lying down for a while
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue, weakness, faintness
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • Irregular or rapid pulse
  • Decreased alertness or concentration
  • Cough
  • Decreased urine production
  • Need to urinate at night
  • Infants may sweat during feeding (or other exertion)

Some patients with heart failure have no symptoms. In these people, the congestive heart failure symptoms may develop only with these conditions:

  • Infections with high fever
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease

How to prevent and treat Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Follow your health care provider's recommendations for treatment of conditions that may cause congestive heart failure symptoms. These recommendations may include, especially if you have a strong family history of CHF :

  • Treat your high blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medication if necessary
  • Treat your high cholesterol with diet, exercise, and medication if necessary
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid alcohol use
  • Take an ACE inhibitor if you have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure
  • Treat arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and keep your heart rate under control
  • Treat an underlying thyroid disorder
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Exercise
  • Consider taking a health supplement to reduce hypertension

If you have congestive heart failure symptoms, your doctor will monitor you closely. This means having follow up appointments at least every 3 to 6 months, figuring out any underlying cause and treating it, and periodic testing of your heart function. For example, an ultrasound of your heart, called an echocardiogram, will be done once in awhile to give an estimate of how well your heart is pumping blood with each stroke or beat.

It is also your responsibility to carefully monitor yourself and help manage your condition. One important way to do this is to track your weight on a daily basis. Weight gain can be a sign that you are retaining fluid and that the pump function of your heart is worsening. Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time each day and on the same scale, with little to no clothes on.

Remember, high blood pressure is one the principal cause of congestive heart failure symptoms. To prevent this, you should consider the following three pronged approach to high blood pressure … the natural way. This requires a combination of... exercise, sensible diet without overeating and with health supplements that will support your cardiovascular system.

Our personal approach to prevent congestive heart failure symptoms


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