Congestive heart failure (CHF)
Our heart works like a pump. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to different parts of the body. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. Due to this the patient may feel shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, leg swelling, etc. CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. It can be life-threatening. If you suspect you or someone near you has CHF, seek immediate medical treatment.
Many diseases can affect the pumping efficiency of the heart to cause congestive heart failure.
While heart-related diseases can lead to CHF, there are other unrelated conditions that may increase your risk, too. These include diabetes, thyroid disease, and obesity. Severe infections and allergic reactions may also contribute to CHF.
In the early stages of CHF, you may not notice any changes in your health. If your condition progresses, you’ll experience gradual changes in your body.
The symptoms of congestive heart failure vary, but can include:
The treatment depends on your overall health and how far your condition has worsened. There are several medications that can be used to treat CHF, which include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) open up narrowed blood vessels to improve blood flow. Vasodilators are another option if you cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors.
- Calcium channel drugs relax blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. They also reduce heart’s workload.
- Stents, small expandable tubes can treat narrowed arteries in your body.
- Surgeries – If medications aren’t effective on their own, more invasive procedures may be required. Angioplasty, a procedure to open up blocked arteries, is one option.