Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped working completely

Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively throughout the body. The term congestive is used because lung congestion causes some of the main symptoms of heart failure.

Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped working completely. It means that the heart is not pumping as ably as it should. As a result, some of the blood that is normally pumped out of your heart backs up into your lungs and other parts of your body. With congestive heart failure, your body tissues and organs may not get as much blood as they need.

Who Gets Congestive Heart Failure?

Anyone can develop congestive heart failure. People who are most at risk for developing congestive heart failure include those who have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, heart attack, an enlarged heart ( cardiomyopathy), heart valve disease, longstanding or untreated high blood pressure (hypertension), and those with chronic kidney disease.

Congestive heart failure is more common in elderly people, particularly those over the age of 70.

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure can be caused by a number of conditions that damage the heart muscle, including a heart attack or heart infection; coronary artery disease; excessive alcohol consumption; an over- or under-active thyroid gland; and untreated high blood pressure.

Congestive heart failure can also be caused by damage to or abnormalities in the valves inside the heart, which regulate blood flow out of the heart, and genetic conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes thickened due to enlarged heart muscle cells.

Factors such as high fever, anemia, lung infections, pulmonary embolism, high salt or fluid intake, overexertion, obesity, stress, and rapid heartbeat can worsen or trigger congestive heart failure in people with already weakened hearts.

In this section

Congestive Heart Failure – You are here
Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
Congestive Heart Failure Prevention

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