Congestive Heart Failure and the Warning Signs
Your heart is the muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your body. When your heart isn’t pumping properly, blood and fluids can build up in the lungs causing congestion. Your heart will work harder, pump faster and circulate more blood to try to distribute blood, but once the heart can no longer compensate adequately, congestive heart failure occurs.
Congestive Heart Failure is typically caused by coronary heart disease and can occur in men and women of all ages, including children. It is important to know the signs of congestive heart failure. If you experience two or more of these symptoms of congestive heart failure, seek immediate care:
- Shortness of breath that usually will occur with activity but can progress to symptoms at rest or while sleeping.
- Tiredness or fatigue accompanied by experiencing difficulty with daily activities such as walking, grocery shopping, climbing stairs or other daily errands.
- Swelling in your feet or ankles or sudden weight gain around your abdomen.
- Lack of appetite or nausea including feeling like you have a full stomach even when you haven’t eaten recently.
- Increased heart rate or throbbing as your heart beats faster.
- Persistent coughing or wheezing that produces white or blood-stained mucus.
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment and Prevention
There are several risk factors that can contribute to this disease including family history, diabetes, smoking, history of high blood pressure and being inactive and overweight. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising moderately, following a healthy diet and limiting tobacco and alcohol use may help prevent congestive heart failure.
There are many treatment options for congestive heart failure. Most are non-invasive and involve medications and proper diet.