Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure, is a life-threatening condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Causes
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.



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

  • Gastrointestinal tract, arms, and legs (right-sided heart failure)
  • Liver
  • Lungs (left-sided heart failure)
Heart failure results in a lack of oxygen and nutrition to organs, 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 heart failure are:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
Other structural or functional causes of heart failure include:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertropic cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart tumor
  • Lung disease
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.

Symptoms
  • Cough
  • Decreased alertness or concentration
  • Decreased urine production
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue, weakness, faintness
  • Irregular or rapid pulse
  • Loss of appetite, indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck veins that stick out
  • Need to urinate at night
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • Shortness of breath with activity, or after lying down for a while
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Weight gain

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