Congestive Heart Failure: Know its Symptoms, Types & Treatment
Congestive Heart Failure: Know its Symptoms, Types & Treatment
Posted On : 26 March 2021, 8 Months Ago. Health-wellness
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Heart disease is one of the leading causes of deaths globally, and the numbers are increasing at an exponential pace due to factors like unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, hectic schedule and undue stress. Congestive Heart Failure or CHF is among the most pervasive heart diseases. It’s lethal because it often remains undiagnosed.


What is Congestive Heart Failure?


It's important to lead a healthy lifestyle and undergo routine medical check-ups to prevent Congestive Heart Failure, a chronic condition in which fluid accumulates around the heart's surface and impedes the heart's capacity to pump blood.

While the heart continues to function in case of Congestive Heart Failure, it pumps less blood that is required by the body. When the blood supply is considerably reduced, vital organs like the kidney and liver are affected. If the kidney receives less blood than its requirement, then its filtration capacities are hampered and the excess fluid starts concentrating in the liver, lungs, eyes and even limbs. This fluid accumulation is known as congestion in medical terms. More the congestion increases, the more severe the heart condition gets. Timely diagnosis and proper treatment are essential to prevent further health complications, and comprehensive health insurance plans can secure your finances from such medical emergencies.


Types of Congestive Heart Failure


Any congestion around the heart for vital body organs leads to cardiac failure. Generally, there are two types of CHF: -


1. Systolic Heart Failure


In case of systolic heart failure, the contraction capability of left ventricles is affected, resulting in the reduction of force needed for the heart to pump blood. This causes disturbance in heart function and reduces blood flow.


2. Diastolic Heart Failure


When muscles in the left-ventricle get too rigid, there's diastolic heart failure. Muscles need proper rest and relaxation, but the rigidness makes relaxation very difficult, leading to abnormal functioning. Diastolic heart failure is caused to the stiffening of left ventricle, and it occurs in patients with a preserved left ventricular function.


Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms


In the initial stages, there are no tangible symptoms of CHF, which makes diagnosis difficult if a check-up is not done. However, as the condition progresses, there are observable symptoms like fatigue, swelling of limbs, breathlessness, severe coughing, chest pain, fainting, irregular heartbeat and urinary incontinence.


Congestive Heart Failure Causes


Congestive heart failure is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and no exercise. There are some of the other conditions that can both cause and aggravate CHF like valve conditions, hypertension and coronary artery diseases. High blood pressure during hypertension increases the risk of cardiac failure as arteries and muscles get rigid, increasing the risk of Congestive Heart Failure.

If due to any underlying disorders, heart valves are not functioning properly, then there's difficulty in pumping blood, which makes it harder to breath and can lead to CHF. High cholesterol in the body causes arterial blockage, which is one of the most common causes of CHF or cardiac arrest. Diabetes, obesity and certain allergies can also trigger congestive heart failure. Smoking, high fatty diet and substance abuse can also be one of the causes.


Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure


Congestive Heart Failure is diagnosed with the help of regular medical check-ups with a cardiologist. There are also tests to check pulse rate, heart beat rate, breathing etc. At advanced levels, there are other tests like blood test, stress test, Electrocardiogram, MRI, Cardiac Catheterization, Ultrasound, and Echocardiography. Timely CHF diagnosis is a prerequisite to effectively treat it.


Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure


Based on the severity of the disorder, CHF treatment recommended by the doctor varies. In nascent stages, it's extremely important to make lifestyle changes like consuming a balanced, healthy diet, reducing the intake of alcohol and cutting down on smoking. There are also prescribed medications like diuretics, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors that reduce congestion and assist blood pumping. At the most advanced stage, surgery is the only option.  Angioplasty is done to open clogged arteries so that normal blood flow can resume. There are also valve surgeries in case of valve malfunction.




Congestive Heart Failure is among the most widespread heart diseases. If not diagnosed timely, it can be fatal. It is triggered by many factors including lifestyle, stress, hypertension, cholesterol. Leading a healthy life, cutting down on smoking, regular exercise and routine medical-check ups are essential to prevent CHF. Therefore, eat right food and keep your heart healthy.

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