Congestive Heart Disease : An Overview
Congestive heart disease or heart failure is a serious condition that can be life-threatening (if left untreated). It can diminish blood supply to vital organs, such as the brain, liver, and kidneys. That, in turn, can lead to organ damage.
In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the causes and types of congestive heart failure. Also, we’ll understand the outlook for patients living with the condition. Let’s get started.
What Are the Causes of Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure is characterized by a gradual deterioration in the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. It can result in various symptoms, such as swelling in the abdomen, feet, and legs, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight gain, and loss of appetite. Read our blog post on heart failure symptoms for more details.
Typically, the condition is the result of an abnormality in the cardiac muscles that interferes with the heart’s pumping function. It can be due to a congenital defect or an underlying illness that exerts the heart muscles.
The most common causes of congestive heart disease include :
- Coronary artery diseases
- Damaged or dying heart tissue due to a previous heart attack
- Heart rhythm disturbances
- Heart valve damage
The following factors also increase an individual’s risk of developing the condition:
- A family history of cardiovascular diseases
- Tobacco smoking
- Alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Substance abuse
Types of Congestive Heart Failure
Depending on the part of the heart’s pumping cycle that’s been affected, congestive heart failure can be of two types: systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure.
In systolic heart failure, the left ventricle becomes thin and weak and is unable to push an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood into the arteries. It’s also known as heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
In diastolic heart failure, the ventricles become thick and stick, due to which the heart can relax and let an adequate amount of blood fill the chambers. It’s also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
Congestive heart failure can also be categorized into two types depending on the side of the heart that’s affected. This includes left-sided heart failure and right-sided heart failure.
Acute Congestive Heart Failure
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have outlined four distinct stages of the progression of heart failure. Stage four, or the most advanced stage, is characterized by acute heart failure.
At this stage, a patient experiences severe symptoms that don’t respond to standard treatments. They might need frequent hospitalization or specialized treatment to stay out of the hospital.
Congestive Heart Failure Prognosis
There’s no known cure for congestive heart failure. However, timely diagnosis, proper treatment, and lifestyle changes can be instrumental in improving a patient’s quality of life and longevity. Doctors usually use a cardiopulmonary stress test to predict your prognosis.
The prognosis of congestive heart failure for a patient depends on various factors, including their age, sex, medical history, and lifestyle. Chronic ailments like diabetes can worsen your prognosis. Also, the stage at which heart failure is diagnosed influences the outlook.
Dr. C Raghu is a world-renowned cardiologist who’s helped thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has nearly two decades of experience. If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with congestive heart disease, feel free to consult Dr. Raghu right away.