congestive heart disease

Congestive Heart Disease 101: Understanding the Disease Process

Congestive heart failure (at times called CHF) is a progressive chronic disease that has a consequence on the pumping power of cardiac muscles. Although time and again referred to as “heart failure,” Congestive heart failure refers specifically to the phase where fluid accumulates in the region of the heart and causes ineffective pumping.

There are four quarters of the heart. The lower half of the heart has two ventricles, and the upper half of your heart has two atria. The ventricles aid in pumping blood to the tissues along with organs of your body, whereas the atria collect blood from your body as they pass through the rest of your body.

CHF grows once the ventricles cannot pump enough blood into the body. This may lead to blood, and extra liquids accumulate in your liver, abdomen, lungs, with the lower part of the body.

CHF is most times deadly. If you or a person you know has CHF, see a doctor immediately.

What Are the Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure?

People with a record of cardiovascular health problems or with diverse risk factors for heart failure should straight away consult with the doctor if they have symptoms of heart failure.

The common symptoms of heart failure are:

  • Persistent and unexplained cough: Some people have whistles and pink mucus or bloodstains.
  • Difficulty in Breathing or Shortness of Breath: People with heart failure may also have difficulty breathing before going to bed, doing physical activity, or resting because of fluid buildup in the lungs.
  • Weight gain: fast weight gain can be a sign of congestive heart failure.
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles, abdomen, or legs: swelling may get worse over the day or after physical exertion.
  • Feeling tired: Even well-rested people can be fatigued if they have CHF.
  • Nausea: a weak appetite can accompany it.
  • Changes in memory and thinking: Electrolyte irregularities due to heart failure can affect a person’s ability to think clearly.
  • Fast Heart Rate: This happens because the heart cannot pump blood at a regular rate.
  • Dizziness, relief, or fainting: This may also include tingling or numbness in the limbs due to insufficient blood supply.

Some Causes of Congestive Heart Failure?

Many pathological processes can affect the efficiency of pumping the heart, leading to congestive heart failure. In the United States, the most general reasons for congestive heart failure are:

  • Heart valve disorders.
  • Unknown sources (idiopathic), as after healing of myocarditis
  • Coronary disease
  • Lasting alcohol abuse
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

The least regular foundation of congestive heart failure consists of:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Viral infections that strengthen the heart muscle.

For those who have congestive heart failure and heart disease within, the use of certain medications can lead to the growth or aggravation of lung disease. Also, medications that can have an effect on the power of the heart muscle. A typical example of these is the regularly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and naproxen, plus some steroids and certain drugs for type 2 diabetes, such as pioglitazone (Actos) or rosiglitazone (Avandia) and various calcium channel blockers (CBCs).

Treatment of CHF

The goal of treating congestive heart failure is to make the heartbeat more effectively to meet the body’s energy needs. Suitable medication depends on the underlying cause of heart failure, and it includes:

Medications to reduce body fluids (diuretics)

The treatment aims to reduce the amount of fluid inside the body, which in turn, assists in reducing the amount of hard work done by the heart in circulating blood in the blood vessels of the body. Tightening liquids and reducing salt intake can be very helpful.

Common medications include:

  • Aldosterone antagonist
    • Beta-blockers
    • Blood vessel dilators
    • Calcium channel blockers (except in case of systolic heart failure)
    • Digoxin
    • Diuretics
    • Drug with a heart pump
    • Potassium or magnesium.
    • Selective sinus node inhibitors
    • ACE inhibitors
    • ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers)
    • ARNIs (angiotensin-neprilysin receptor inhibitors)


If the drugs are not effective on their own, more invasive actions may be needed. Angioplasty, a process for opening blocked arteries, is an alternative. The cardiologist may also consider repairing the heart valve to help the valves open and close appropriately.

Final Words

Some of the significant factors are based on heredity, but lifestyle can also play a significant role. Several critical decisions can be taken to help lessen the risk of heart failure or at least maintain a balanced diet, exercise, avoid or stop smoking, control weight, stay away from illicit drugs, delay your onset, and take alcohol in moderation.